Since 2022, F1 fans have been blessed with two yearly video game releases with Electronic Arts and Codemasters producing the sport’s authentic title, while Frontier Developments have relaunched the management side of F1.

With the likes of Christian Horner, Toto Wolff and Guenther Steiner growing to greater prominence in recent years through Netflix documentary ‘Drive to Survive’, combined with F1’s general boom worldwide, there’s definitely a market for two annual F1 video games.

Could Red Bull's 2023 Season Become The Most Dominant Ever?

As an avid player of the F1 title, last week was my first experience of playing Frontier’s F1 manager game.

I was very excited to see how the game was, the additional new features and to get a good understanding of why the inaugural title was so popular.

Relive moments from the 2023 season

During my two-hour session on the game, I got to experience the new ‘race moments’ mode - tackling Monaco as team boss of Aston Martin, while the second race was a conventional career mode grand prix as Mercedes.

Focusing on ‘race moments’, in essence, it’s a scenario mode based on the real life events from the F1 2023 season.

Straight away I was thrown into the Monaco Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso running in second, a number of seconds behind Max Verstappen.

Like in the real life race, rain was on the way and it was critical to make the correct strategy call as I looked to aid Alonso to his 33rd F1 victory.

Given it was my first experience playing F1 Manager, it was a case of figuring out the controls, where everything was in terms of on-screen display and so on, not making a crucial call to potentially fit intermediate tyres.

As I scrambled to figure out how to pit, Alonso had already passed the pit lane, while Lance Stroll was well down the field, already on the intermediates.

A lap later, with the rain falling, I decided to call Alonso in, but with race leader Verstappen also pitting, succeeding in this scenario looked impossible.

As the race progressed in typical Monaco fashion, it allowed me to get fully accustomed to the on-screen display and all the necessary functions.

Seeing how certain instructions and commands had a direct impact on your driver’s lap times, or willingness to go for overtakes.

Frontier deserve great credit for how beautiful the game looks - even though it wasn’t on my own PC, the game ran well and captured the authentic look of a grand prix.

Back to the action itself, the forecast suggested that the race would get dry towards the end, so when the Safety Car was called out with a number of laps to go, I called Alonso and Stroll in for slicks.

Alonso remained in second with a number of lapped cars ahead of him, while Verstappen stayed out on intermediates.

The track was drying quickly, but it was inconsequential as the Safety Car remained out until the end of the race ensuring Verstappen - like in real life - would win in the principality.

One lap is all I needed as Christian Horner and Jonathan Wheatley’s begging to Michael Masi in 2021 to get the race back underway crossed my mind - “You only need one racing lap” - but it wasn’t to be.

The ‘race moments’ mode provided a fun, immersive experience as you tried to right the wrongs of the real life Aston Martin team.

Whether there’s enough replayability is questionable but still a neat addition in just Frontier’s second F1 game.

Career mode

Moving onto the career mode…

It was my first taste of what F1 Manager’s career mode has to offer.

I was impressed with the level of detail, how in-depth some areas are in terms of facilities and the control you have in your respective team.

With time ticking, I simulated practice and qualifying, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell securing fourth and fifth on the grid.

Taking what I had learned in the first session, my eyes were firmly set on the win as we had to overcome the two Red Bull drivers.

Things were going well initially as Hamilton and Russell made it a Mercedes 1-2 within the first 15 laps, having started on the hard tyre (Sergio Perez started on the soft; Verstappen mediums).

My gut feeling was to stick to a one-stop strategy as Hamilton built up a five-second lead over Russell.

Things were going well until I realised I had told both drivers to push too hard in the early laps, resulting in a serious drop-off in tyres.

Come Lap 28, I was forced to bring Russell in given he was losing significant time to the two-stopping Perez.

My focus was ultimately on Hamilton and securing his first win since Saudi Arabia 2021.

But it was too late, “puncture” I heard over team radio as Hamilton limped back into the pit lane.

Russell would go on to inherit the net lead of the race, but struggling on the one-stop strategy, was passed by Perez and the two Ferraris to finish fourth, while Hamilton could only recover to seventh.

Again, it was another missed opportunity at winning a race but a lot of lessons learned for the next race in Hungary, if I would survive the week break…

Final thoughts

Overally, my first experience of F1 Manager was very positive and I probably enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

The level of detail and control you have over races, combined with how visually stunning the game looks makes it an enjoyable experience.

While it’s important to reiterate that it was just a preview build, new additions such as the visor cam worked perfectly, and I didn’t encounter any annoying bugs or crashes along the way.

As a complete novice to the series, it's incredibly likely I will pick up the game now come July 31.

F1 Manager 2023 will be released on PlayStation, Xbox and PC on July 31. The Deluxe Edition is out on July 27.