F1 Winter Break
A sneak preview of the F1 2012 game
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Aug 2012   |  8:45 am GMT  |  85 comments

This week I was lucky enough to visit the Codemasters Studio in Birmingham where developers are putting the final touches to the new F1 2012 game, due out next month. We recorded an interview with Creative Director Stephen Hood which you can hear in the next JA on F1 Podcast next week.

This is the third year of Codemasters producing the official F1 game and with a new contract in the bag going forward the developers have been able to stretch their legs a little.

There are some interesting new features on the game, including Champions’ mode – a section that reflects the record six world champions in the field, details like being able to adjust the brake bias (you see the driver’s hand come off the wheel and move a lever like on the on-board camera shots), localised weather and a Young Guns test, where the basics of driving an F1 car and how to use things like DRS and KERS are also explained. Part of this is going to be available as a free demo, something Codemasters haven’t done before.

So what’s new on the game? “We have made a game that sits between arcade impressions and racing simulation,” says Hood. “We are trying to make a game that really represents the sport when you watch it on TV. This year we are trying to get people that are still afraid of F1 and racing simulations;people that don’t know anything about DRS and KERS. Sometimes I think the hardcore community think we are trying to dumb down the game or turn it into an arcade game, but the commentators on TV are always explaining these things and that’s what we are trying to do. It’s more of an accessible game.”

Codemasters are very proud of the physics of the game, they model the tyre performance, temperature of the track following another car’s dirty air, aerodynamic effect as downforce increases with speed. They have also modelled some of the tyre wear characteristics of the 2012 F1 cars, so the Mercedes is heavier on its rear tyres in the race, for example, while the Sauber is lighter on its tyres.

“We look at the talking points of the season and one of the advantages of coming out later in the season is we can reflect that,” says Hood. “We’ve played around with that, so in effect each of the teams have their own characteristics: front tyres wear differently to the rears, different bias on different teams, for the true F1 fan who wants to play the long races and experience the sport as it is this season. So that if you are driving a Sauber and you are behind a Mercedes, you know that you can run longer than him. That’s the kind of attention to detail we are trying to incorporate all the time.”

One of the new features of the game is of course, the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Check out the site later when I will be posting a video of Stephen Hood and I driving and talking through an on board lap of the Austin track. A mixture of elements of Turkey, Silverstone and Korea, I think fans will be quite impressed.

* Look out for the next JA on F1 podcast, featuring the Codemasters interview, later next week.

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Mohammed Al-Momen

I'm an F1 fan, and a gamer. Its always nice to have F1 games to enjoy. Can't wait to play this on my 55 in Samsung LED TV 😉


I'd love to see the guys include a bit more of the F1 driver experience out of the cockpit, and have it make a real difference somehow in the game.

Shame the online play is usually completely ruined by a huge crash into the first corner almost every single time!


I on the other hand will be enjoying it on a larger telly that cost a heap less, enjoying even more frames.


I on the other hand will be enjoying it on an even LARGER telly that cost even LESS while enjoying way more frames. Beat that!


I was talking b** anyway ... my lovely plasma has no PS3 attached to it anymore. Wife's laptop died ... I could have a PS3 and a laptop we share, or two laptops ... being able to use my puter when I want vs being able to play games when it suits everyone else. PS3 lost.


You guys should check out the oculus rift vr headset -THAT will make it an immersive experience, sitting behind your steering wheels!


Ive played the last 2 f1 games made by these guys and I still don't think it's a patch on the 2006 championship edition one on ps3. For me that's the best f1 game I've played yet. The only think I didn't like about that game was spa wasn't there that year. Hopefully this game the driving feels better. I didt like the low speed driving of the last game. Far too easy.


Totally agree! That was Studio Liverpool's version and it still holds it's own today! I'd still be playing it had they not taken off the online component.


I am a massive racing games fan but haven't bought any F1 games since the first Codemasters game. I won't be buying any more either.

They re-release the same game every year with minor upgrades to it, when they should actually just upgrade the core game by DLC costing a couple of quid, maybe a tenner.

I'll bet sales continue to decline until they realise this.


Well thanks to the video game geeks that make these things for it's because of them that I begun following the sport after playing an F1 game on the play station and realizing how fun racing is not to mention how insanely difficult it is to string together a perfect quick lap, let along stringing together a couple of consistent laps.

Yes, till this day car games are the only thing I dare play on video games, the rest are too complex/too slow.

Meanwhile not sure it's a wise move to release these things before the season ends for who knows, maybe teams like Mercedes will get on top of their tyres woes and yes, nothing like a brand new F1 2012 game in your Christmas stocking to make your festive season/ winter break perfect.

Anyway, I myself will be playing the F1 2012 using the yellow helmet/ #4 car and yup, I won't be taking any prisoners.


Shame. I was really hoping that codies would make a big step forward with this game in terms of handling. Just seems like they are cashing in a bit, using the same Eco engine and adding a few in my opinion unnecessary gimmicky things. The Project C.A.R.S game which is due to be released next year looks to surpass all the codemasters F1 games - one could only hope.


I think the real thing that has been missing, is some kind of "tutorial mode/ engineer help" where the gamer can get advice on how to get more out of the car. So be shown how to get the most out of their tyres (how to save them but still drive fast, maintaining temperature). or if they're slower in sector 2 then be given suggestions of set-up changes that might help, this way they can get more of an understanding of car set up which when your playing on the harder difficulties with a steering wheel, becomes a big part of the game


Hi James,

Do you know, in what platforms the games will be released?


The main game is on Xbox 360, PS3 & Windows PC (with Games for Windows LIVE *sigh*).

There will likely be a mobile version released for the Vita and an iOS release down the line.


It's on steam this year, not GFWL


Not sure that using the fact that some commentators on TV dumb the racing down (by mentioning KERS/tyres/whatever ad infinitum) is a good reason to do that with a game. But I guess you can only do so much every year to 'improve' the genre.

If I were Codemasters I'd be looking at doing 'classic' racing simulations. Imagine racing Fangio in a Maserati at the Nurbergring or up against Moss at Monaco in '61, Jim Clark in an unreliable Lotus or James Hunt in a Hesketh?


I agree, classic stuff would be great, in F1 05 you could unlock a couple of old Williams and Lotus' to do time trials in and the old Detroit track but it was not nearly enough.

Imagine recreating Dijon '79 yourself.


You dont need to recreate it, get rfactor and download the f1 1979 patch.


Agreed with Greg 100%...imagine you are Rene Arnoux racing against Gilles Villeneuve in Dijon 🙂


Their license with FOM limits them to the current season and they've shown no desire to release modification tools to allow the PC crowd (at least) to extend the life of that version so that they can sell next years release.


Just a guess, but 'old F1' is not going to be under the auspices of the current money-grabbing bunch is it?


Yes, it is.


I'm not sure that any F1 game will ever beat F1 '97 on the Playstation in my eyes. I still play it now.


I have been playing console/PC driving games since the early 80's. These would be my Top 7, in no particular order.

Formula 1 on the ZX Spectrum. Brilliant retro F1 management game.

Sega Rally, either arcade or on the Sega Saturn

F1 97 on the PS1

Ferrari Challenge on the PS3

Geoff Crammonds PC based F1 games.

Gran Tourismo 3, never bettered as a road car driving experience

Grand Prix Legends, classic 60's based PC racing game


I agree, this was/is a great game. While I think its more of a "game" than a "simulator"...for its day it was great and still fun to play. Something about it that is still very addicting.. maybe its murray maybe its just nostalgia for me, but I know i've stayed up too late and made the wife mad too many times with this game.


I so agree with that.

The new generation games look fantastic, yet the handling is so unrealistic. The cars have no feel.


Me too. A classic game that!

"Youre right there Murray!"


yes! I concur - F1 '97 holds a special place for me an my childhood too, as a young 12 yr old it was the game that got me into Formula 1 afterall!


agreed, i wish i still had it.

Tom in adelaide

The game is certainly looking like a big improvement on the previous two. Still, Codemaster's biggest problem has always been the bugs, hopefully more of them will be identified and fixed before release this time.


Nice one James. I'm a big fan of these games and,just like with the Korea track a couple of years ago, it's a good sneak preview of the new circuits!


The biggest issue I have with these games is that they are released close to seasons end, which means that you only get to play with the cars towards the end of a season, when the real-world F1 is about to wind up the year and everyone is thinking about next year by that point. Therefore the game has a real past-tense feel to it. They dont feel current.

They have a contract with F1 so couldn't they do what say the Gran Turismo guys did with their game? They were in contact with all the manufacturers as they were building the game, which meant that at games release there were cars in the game that had future launch dates..

Imagine this:
Codemasters liaises with the teams while all the testing is happening in Jan/Feb, gets the livery and team info off them, sticks it in the game and they launch it at seasons start. That way you get to play the tracks at the same point in the season that the real F1 is in. Most computer games have reward systems too, which could open up a world of possibilities in the game. Such as unlock goodines for setting fastest pole at the same track the real guys are at that weekend, winning the race with the same car and driver as the real guys, etc etc..

That would keep the game in the present-tesne. My biggest prob with playing the game is that I don't want to race at say Melbourne in September when the game is released, I'd rather be racing in Spa like the real F1. And when the season is over, I still don't want to race Melbourne because the cars and drivers are no longer current for the new season that's about to start. I think this is the bigest problem real-world based games have.

I reckon release the game early March, give us the chance to race along with the real F1 season, and patch/update the game during the year to reflect various unique car characteristics and most importantly update the results tally in the game during the year to reflect the real F1 world. That would be really engaging to me anyway.



I don't mind these simulations.. they are a bit of fun. What I would really love is a really serious and detailed team management game. I had a great on called F1 Manager based on the 1996 season. there was a dumbed down version in about 1999, but there is so much to F1 team management, it would be great to have a company develop a ripper of a simulation.


Have you tried http://www.f1-tm.com ? Really detailed, great players, takes a lot of practice to get it all right though! So many little details to focus on!

Val from montreal

James , thank you for this article .... The best f1 game that i have ever played was f1 1995 on the original playstation .... The game actually had murray walker doing commentary !!! I used to always take michael Schumacher in his Benetton and practice ALOT on the Monte-carlo circuit ... Then i'd hear murray walker say in the game : '' schumacher is on a scorcher of a lap ! " .... F1 95 was and still is the best f1 game ever made in my opinion ....


I wonder how real F1 drivers fair against us gamers in games like F1 2012 / Forza / GT5 lol 😀


I think Codemasters take advantage of the fact that the hardcore F1 fans will buy the game anyway, even if it is just spending £40 for a livery change every year, because that's what it seems to be. The handling of the cars is awful. I haven't driven a F1 car before but I have played simulators like rFactors and iRacing, and such is the brilliance of their physics that it puts across the behaviour of a F1 car exactly as we imagine it to be. I have to agree with the above, the F1 championship edition game by Sony was far better (for its time). It even had commentary by Martin Brundle and you James Allen! It made it so realistic. Anyway there are some new racing games coming out within the next year e.g. C.A.R.S and rFactor 2, that will without a doubt blow Codemasters out of the water. Hopefully that will push them to actually improve the game instead of window dressing it with new designs every year.


The cars themselves felt and looked like plastic toys in the previous incarnation.

Doubt I will be getting this after the letdown 2011 was.

GT5 all the way..


Austin does look like an epic track, I can't wait to play it,and NJ for 2013.

I've been playing racing games since it was a car on a stick on a rolling road.


Hopefully this game won't be ruined by bugs like 2010 and 2011 were.


Still wont be as good as Gran Turismo. Not that it matters to me any more since my PS3 has gone Yellow Light of Death.


Yep, my first one done the same. I changed it within the 12 month guarantee and the 2nd one done the same thing. Have had a "Slim" for some time now, never had a problem.


Out of all the F1 games i played and the last one being F1 2011, I still believe Formula One 1997 was the best F1 game.

Im 30 and i still enjoy remembering all the best races i had when i was 18 playing it. My favourite race was coming second to villeneuve at the hungaroring being M Schumacher. Lap after lap i couldnt get pass even though i was much quicker. Very much like the real thing when the quicker drivers couldnt get pass.


I was very unhappy with the support F1 2010 received from the developers (For PC). The game shipped with major bugs that included complete losses of save games.

A single patch was released that did indeed fix some things but also broke others, for instance weather and track effects. Codemasters refused point blank to confirm or deny whether a new patch was being worked on and pretty much abandoned the game, leaving the player community itself to fix it or find workarounds.

I swore never to buy a Codemasters product again and I haven't. It saddens me to now hear that Codemasters have secured a new contract.



I had 2010 & 2011. It's pretty fun in it's own right but the broken saves and weird new/used tyre changes spoils it.Having wised up, I will probably wait a few months after release to buy or pass.


formula one games and open wheel games i have been playing them since they made pole postion and sega had super monaco gp.i do think codemaster has did a great job on the games so far. and with the steering wheels and pedals that we have now it brings formula one right in your home.but there are some things they did not put in f12011 that they had in f12010 like the camera zoom in and zoom out function that you can use in the garage in cockpit mode so you can read the driver monitor with ease and the set up where the balance ballast distribution it's gone you can't balance it from front to back. i would like to see if they can put in some of the old driver like andretti senna stewart mansell and ascari and the old cars and race against them that would be fun...


Hi all racing game players,

Can you tell me what is now the most realistic single seater sim? And what kind of hardware you need to play it?

(I'm looking at returning to a bit of gaming since a long break, but only interested in hardcore sims.)

Thanks for any tips!


Most realistic ? I don't know but I had immense fun and learned a lot about setups and race-driving challenges from Simbin and ISI software productions. I also learned to appreciate that those 24 drivers who pound the tracks every 2 weeks are a bunch of special folks.


Thanks Mark and Kit, I'll look those up!


Iracing on the PC.


As much as I've tried, I cannot get on with these games. The controls and the way the cars respond to the controls is woolly and vague (compared to the sharpness of the PC version F1 2002 which I still play.) Also, I can't abide games being released with so many bugs and glitches.

This seems to be a Codemasters thing - other than TOCA 2 wayyyy back when, I can't get on with their racing games.


Ask t4rg4 to send me a copy and I'll give it a shot (ps3)


Let's hope they've actually tested this game before they release it. So frustrating to get a third of the way through your season to find it has been ruined by a glitch in the game. I didn't buy the second game for this reason and won't even consider buying this one until I read about all the bugs.

I guarantee this game will have race & season altering bugs.


When they release the game at the start of the year, so that you can do each race in sync with the actual season, it'll maybe be worth buying...


But then you'll complain when something crucial happens in the season and they weren't able to implement it.


I think they should release in March, update with service packs through the year if reqd. Could have race weekend events where you log in to race the current track and cars, after the live qualifying/race finishes on TV.

Great way to keep people hooked to the game all year round, and would be great fun


It's actually the 4th year of Codemasters producing the official F1 game, F1 2009 for the Wii, PSP, IOS. ;))


I bought and raced F1 2010 when it came out, and thought it was okay. I bought F1 2011 and still haven't installed it. I'm pretty sure I'll skip F1 2012.

For flat out racing I still load Grand Prix Legends and blast around Watkins Glen in the Lotus. With all the 3rd party patches and graphics updates, and a Logitech G25 wheel with 6-speed shifter, it's quite something.

Another one I enjoy is GT Legends, especially with the Lotus Cortina or one of the other lightweight 4 cyl cars.


I have had a GPL disc for years but can never get it to work, my G25 just refuses to work with it and the game crashes all the time! How do you make it work? The ironic thing is I can remember playing it on my mates Windows 95 PC way back in the day where you could count the number of pixels.

I havent played GTL for ages, great game I'll have to dig it out again.

Hae you ever played rFactor?


Couldnt agree more on GPL and GT Legends....and yes on the Cortina... something addicting about that car. Good stuff

michael grievson

I'd like Codemasters just to release DLC each year.


It's a good game is F1 2011 and brilliant with a steering wheel. But for me it feels a bit floaty. The Ferarri F1 cars on Gran Turismo 5 feel alot better to drive, easy to learn but difficult to master. If only Polyphony Digital had the licence. Would never happen with a Sony funded studio. Like the guy in the 2nd comment says too the F1:CE game in 2006 was better. Shame the Sony studio in Liverpool which delevoped the game recently went bust 🙁


As an F1 fan (which I am), if I was a fan of racing simulations (which I'm not) then I'd be at a loss as to why they release these games after the season and miss out on a massive potential market.

Why not initially release it as a downloadable subscription game, with each track becoming available after the event has finished, being configured with all the data from what happened at the race?

Once the season has finished, box it up and release it to the more casual market.


my honest impression of the game has been 'just average'. No doubt Codemasters makes fantastic games with their TOCA race driver series which evolved into Race Driver GRID. And who can forget their Colin McRae rally series which evolved into DiRT series.

I find the F1 game is not as involving. I feel that they needed to make sure the game reflect the real F1 sport means they are constrain to creative ways of making racing games FUN.

Both DiRT and GRID really allows you to be playful and drift the rear end so that you can POWER out of a corner very early. You'll need to balance the throttle and countersteer accordingly to get the maximum. Getting it right is not easy but very much well-rewarded. Get it wrong and you'll pay the price dearly. There is nothing about tyre degradation etcs. That is how I want to play a racing game.


Hi James. The F1 series of games are ok but if you are a true racing fan and want to experience what it feels like to really race you have to try iRacing on the PC. I challenge anyone to find a better sim racing experience, outside of the F1 factory simulators. It's awesome!


If you are a true racing fan and want to experience what it feels like to really race then take a car to a track day and do real driving.


While we're all strolling down memory lane, who remembers the Geoff Crammond GP series. It was amazing the communities that existed which kept updating and enhancing the game. Bring back those days, I say!


Yes, I spent MANY hours playing GP3 and GP4, actually my first REAL hook in to race sims


Geoff Crammond rocked! I started with Revs on the C64, right through to GP4. Wish he was still making them.


Hi James

Are we going to have a competition to win here? 🙂


Any idea if this will have a co-op championship mode?


What got me hooked on motor racing was........going to race meetings, sometimes standing (or walking round the circuit spectator areas) in bad weather, good weather, etc.

When I started doing this, I was still at school, & used to cycle 15 miles to the circuit. At that time you could go into the Paddock & talk to drivers & mechanics, who weren't so 'up themselves'then, & they would also talk to me.

I never knew that gaming could give you so much without leaving your living room.


Grand Prix 2 by Microprose is still the best F1 game ever! Made in 1996, based on the 94 season, unbeatable for a true racing sim!


Agreeded 100%, I absolutely loved that game.


Interesting piece...any one know of a F1 manager Game worthy of playing...Grandprix 2 will not run on windows 7...any offers anyone


I have it running on a Windows 7 system. You have to install DOSBox, a dos emulator. Works like a charm.


Seeing as Codemasters have produced an F1 game each year since 2009, they could stitch these games together to create a proper career mode rather than just repeating the same cars and tracks within a single game season after season.


"I think the hardcore community think we are trying to dumb down the game or turn it into an arcade game, but the commentators on TV are always explaining these things and that’s what we are trying to do. It’s more of an accessible game.” This comes from the same team who claim that only 5% of their user drive with the cockpit cam.

I paid for the other games of the series and now I have learnt my lesson. These guys should be politicians, they would fit in well to that.


The codemaster F1 games are a very poor experiance.

I advise people to try GTR and RFactor series instead.

James, it would be great as a representative of an F1 blog you feed some of the above comments back to codemasters. It's not just that their games are not realistic, they are bug ridden and therefore of a poor quality.


I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Hood and co. last year prior to the release of F1 2011. It was late May and we tried out a private beta version of the game. At the time, the words on everyone's lips was "Safety Car" and Codemasters had never put a Safety car in any of their games before then. I was put in front of a camera and I was asked a question about the safety car, and whether I thought they would put the safety car in the game (At the time the devs were tight-lipped on the whole affair) and whilst the guy sitting next to me said that he thought it was great and he was really excited about it, I said something like: "Yeah, it would be great but I hope they don't rush it's development and leave bugs in the game." (They also asked me about DRS and KERS, to which I replied "They serve no real purpose; they're just gimmicks to keep the racing interesting, but at least they're modelled fairly well.") 4 months later, surprise, surprise: People are complaining about bugs and glitches with the safety car randomly appearing inside their car, disqualifying them from the race through no fault of their own. (Particularly online, where Lag between player connections is more potent)

To be honest, even as a hardcore F1 fan, I'm not able to deny that the games have some stupid flaws that could be avoided: (And I'm not just talking about bugs either) For example, the "corner cutting" detection is abysmal and will penalise you sometimes even if you put a single wheel on the grass, but on other tracks you can put half your car off the circuit and the game doesn't lift a finger. Also the damage model is very poor and unrealistic, which they later explained away by claiming that FOM refused to allow them to make a more detailed damage model because it would cover up Sponsor logos, which is a shame because the team has decent potential and are fairly decent, hardworking and friendly guys.

Overall though I tend to look at the game as more arcade than simulation; just a fun arcade racing game with F1 branded cars and similar elements to F1, just intended as a bit of fun. I think financial gain on the part of codemasters does come into it, and because they are a greedy quality-over-quantity corporation the games suffer as a result; look at Microprose; they made Grand Prix 4 when the company was on it's deathbed, but they still managed to make a brilliant game that is still loved and appreciated as a proper racing sim. Codemaster are, in my opinion, claiming to make racing sims when infact they make something that just feels at times like a lifeless, robotic and slightly corporate imitation of the real thing, which flatters to decieve. Also the "patches" and "support" for the games are laughable.


I havent got 2011 and doubt I will get 2012. They are just too similar to justify spending £40 on each year.

I bought 2010 when it first came out and I have to say quite enjoyed it. That was until I realised how bugged it was and how little support and upgrades came from Codemasters. It is a little arcadey in feeling to drive, Im sure they used the same physics engine as Race Driver: Grid which is a balls to the wall arcade game (one which I like I hasten to add). It must be difficult for them to get the balance right, most folk I imagine dont want to spend hours tinkering with setups and perfecting their lines. Perhaps they should have two different modes with different physics.

The thing I thought was most annoying about though 2010 was the AI. During the race some of them wouldnt pit at all so you would end up with Caterhams winning (this was on the hardest level) and when I came in for a stop I got held for ages and ages due to other cars coming down the pit lane, if I pitted from the lead I would more oftne than not come out last after a 30s pit stop.

I hoped they would fix all this with updates but they didnt, I lost trust in Codemasters. I will be waiting to see the reviews for 2012 before buying.


Apparently if you become world champion on 'expert' level you unlock an 'after the race' segment for future races. Here you go back to the motorhome and plan your next 24 hrs. If you have chosen a married driver (Kimi, Schumacher) your challenge is to escape from the missus and meet up with fellow drivers and crew at a bar. Bonus points are awarded for most creative excuses and coming home after 6am and not getting caught. If you chose a driver who is single then you can do what you want...but do it well!!

I think its something that Codemasters should be congratulated on


I'm convinced that the game will be great. But what about XP support? I hope Codemasters is going to support XP!


just read that there is no championhip mode in the game meaning you cannot play a full season as any driver the offcial f1 game of 2012 without championship mode what a joke.who is in charge at codemasters a chimpanzee? sorry to any chimpanzees who may be reading this.


I am amazed that no steering wheel user has complained about being 3 seconds a lap slower on line. I have played 2010 and 2011 which were both great.In 2012 F1, Codemasters say they wanted a level playing field with hand controllers and steering wheel users. They have over done it. A few tenths would not have been too bad, but three whole seconds! I have gone from coming 1st a few times a night to getting used to being in the bottom half. I have now given up with the 2012 game and am enjoying the 2011 version.

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