The Benchmark

When we look back on the history of driving games as a whole, certain pieces of software have established themselves as landmark releases for their ability to push the boundaries in what is on the outset a very rigid and concrete genre allowing minimal innovation. With only so many ways to depict a high performance car traveling around a closed circuit from the comfort of your own home, games such as Grand Prix Legends, Richard Burns Rally, and GTR 2 have become notorious for their technical fortitude and ruthless authenticity – often at times when the technology seemingly didn’t allow for such a hardcore experience to be replicated on rudimentary hardware.

Yet despite home computers progressing far into the future – now possessing the ability to render each individual hair on Mario’s mustache while taking into account a gentle breeze in the area – racing simulators have become lifeless shells of what the future once promised them to be. The joys of rushing home to a feature complete $60 game a decade ago have now been replaced with eternal science projects, message board wars, and rampant apologist rhetoric – brainwashed supporters bending over backwards to defend what in any other market would be blatant anti-consumer practices.

It is for this reason that Formula One 2017 not only succeeds in being Codemasters’ finest grand prix racer to date, but establishes itself as quite possibly the greatest racing game that has ever been released to the general public. In an era where simulated motor racing is an embarrassingly bleak hobby to enter, Codemasters have constructed a package so anti-status quo and so pro-consumer, I’m honestly left wondering why other developers would even bother trying to compete with a game so polished and robust. Finally matching the abundance of bells and whistles crammed onto the DVD with an equally satisfactory on-track experience, Formula One 2017 is absurdly good, and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you intentionally ignore what Codemasters have created.

Though DiRT 2, DiRT 3, as well as the hardcore spin-off DiRT Rally all offered a set of driving physics that were equally satisfying regardless of whether you commandeered your rally car with a generic gamepad or pricey toy steering wheel, this integral portion of the core gameplay experience never once carried over to Codemasters’ officially licensed Formula One games on the other side of the studio. From the series’ inception in 2010 (I don’t count the awful Wii game), flashy graphics and a robust career mode were never enough to distract you from the abhorrent driving physics – which despite praise from Formula One personalities past and present, never once resembled the real thing. Year after year, Codemasters would put out a game that looked great on paper, all the way up until you started turning laps for yourself after paying the pricey entry fee.

Enter David Greco, a real life racing instructor and avid sim racer, who was recruited by Codemasters in the spring of 2014 to help inject some element of simulation value into the high profile Formula One series. While the first few releases were shaky, Formula One 2017 signifies the exact moment this partnership has paid off. This is no longer an awkward Codemasters grand prix game, complete with strange wheelspin physics, insanely high lateral grip, and a very uncomfortable feeling on the edge of adhesion; out on the track, F1 2017 has more in common with the PC simulators Greco plays in his leisure time than any other game in the Codemasters library, past or present.

Does that mean the cars are now total death traps to control for all but the most talented of sim racers? Well, no, it’s quite the opposite actually. Rather than sim racers being forced to learn and understand all of the typical Codemasters quirks we’ve seen over the years, what’s now happened is that the cars are predictable, intuitive, and responsive at the limit. Driving deep into a corner, laying on the brakes for the minimum amount of time needed, and then rolling into the throttle while the back end struggles to plant itself is now a natural feeling, and you can really wheel the cars for that extra tenth or two, as opposed to years past when this was all down to car setup and approaching corners in the way the physics engine wanted you to. There is still a limit to what you can get away with – whether that means plowing through a corner or smoking the wall – but unlike past iterations, it’s something you can jump in and grasp, rather than being turned off by it.

The sensation behind the wheel in F1 2017 is comparable to my time spent in Reiza’s Time Trial of the Week competition for Automobilista earlier this year. Once a kind alien had provided me with some of his private setups for the Formula V10 we were all turning laps in for that particular week, I went from white-knucking the car around the circuit, to being surprised how easy it was to wheel it with a proper setup by someone who understood what they were doing in the garage area. F1 2017 doesn’t feel like there are hidden aids on to assist the car in remaining stable, it just feels like a good dude in the community gave you his entire setup collection, and out of the box the car is working with you, rather than against you. Some of the older sim racers among us will spend the next few months screeching that Formula One cars shouldn’t be this intuitive to drive, and a Codemasters game should never be considered a simulator, yet the minuscule list of fatalities in the series since 1994, coupled with unprepared personalities like Yuji Ide appearing on the grid in the mid 2000’s, gives more weight to the idea that maybe what Codemasters have produced isn’t all that far off.

So while hotlapping is fun, the time trial mode benefiting from a diverse array of cars from the 80’s and 90’s on top of the absolutely wild 2017 machinery, not to mention a few additional short layouts like Suzuka East and Silverstone National to pad the track count, where Formula One 2017 shines the most is where it previously drew the most criticism. Again, while the off-road games from the studio were traditionally bundled with exceptional artificial intelligence, past Formula One entries have been an absolute disaster when it came to racing against a field of computer opponents during any of the game’s offline modes. Though F1 2016 made slight improvements in this area, Formula One 2017 is practically an entirely different game in the way you’re able to race the bots door-to-door, lap after lap. Rather than being ruthless cunts who refuse to give you an inch, and would often flat-out wreck you for not yielding when they felt they had a position, the AI cars have now been programmed to operate under a “player first” mentality – though their aggression has not been compromised as a result. Poke your wing under the tire of an AI car, and though it would be virtually impossible for them to know you’re there in reality, the bot will provide you with just over a lane to work with, and allow you to maintain your line until somebody concedes the position.

It’s an AI behavior that I feel could be easily exploitable in the hands of a skilled player – merely throw the car into a corner and the AI will always yield to your presence so long as you enter their predetermined safe space – but the pros in this instance far outweigh the cons. Insane opening lap wrecks are a thing of the past, pack racing during the first few laps is exhilarating, and the traditional single file procession produces exponentially less bullshit scenarios when an AI driver attempts to take the position from you, or vice versa. This doesn’t mean the AI have been slowed down, however; at the same time, I’d say they’re more aggressive than in years past. Cars no longer contemplate their life choices and awkwardly twitch back and forth before setting up for an overtake, and cars/drivers that are outright quicker than you, whether it be down to equipment or driver skill, will still manage to hold their own and reclaim the position if you force them to run an alternative line.

Combined with the introduction of a traditional numbered difficulty slider rather than named preset skill levels, and you’re looking at a grand prix game that isn’t just an improvement compared to previous iterations in the series; you’re looking at something that will undoubtedly challenge Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 4 as the undisputed king of offline racing.

And obviously, that’s a pretty big deal when you consider that Formula One 2017 was constructed primarily as a single player experience. Sure, there are plenty of online options for those wanting to tackle a season with their buddy, set up a quick session, or host a multi-week online championship, but the reality is that the meat of Formula One 2017 lies in its extensive career mode and its overarching presentation. With elaborate TV-style introductions for each session, copious amounts of lighthearted paddock shots, complex research and development trees, equipment degradation, quality assurance checks on developed parts, and no shortage of in-game personalities holding your hand through the on-site team headquarters, it’s hard to believe that on the other side of the genre, sim racers are being wooed by mere custom championship tools. Again, the simdads will cry foul at all of these distracting elements supposedly taking away from the core driving experience, but when the rest of the genre is permanently stuck somewhere between 2006 and 2008, it’s absolutely bewildering to be graced with a game that exhibits this level of detail and immersion. Formula One 2017 is not merely just a game that features F1 cars and tracks from the current season; it’s our equivalent to FIFA or Madden, and something we as a community can be genuinely proud of.

And then there’s the classic cars. While the inclusion of 80’s/90’s/00’s content isn’t anything new – we saw most of the same vehicles appear in Formula One 2013 a few years ago – what is new is how they’re handled. Though promotional material claims you’ll be able to drive these in easy-going Career mode challenges after being discovered by what’s essentially a sugar daddy, the reality is that Codemasters have essentially gone and recreated an unlicensed version of BOSS GP for you to dick around with at your leisure if you never plan on touching the main campaign mode at all – and of course, all of these cars are unlocked from the start. Drawing inspiration from the real-world Big Open Single Seaters Grand Prix series, where wealthy gentlemen purchase retired F1 and Champcars for use in short multi-class competition events, Codemasters have provided players with the ability to partake in several offline championships with these cars to get some additional use out of them. In short, the hype surrounding their inclusion is actually justified, as an entire portion of the game has been dedicated to them.

While the 2017 cars are every bit as crazy and exciting to drive on their own, having a fleet of highly recognizable cars from the 80’s, 90’s, and of course the 2000’s just adds to the already stellar package Codemasters have created. Given how enjoyable the driving experience is compared to years past, blasting around these ultra-high fidelity circuits in something absurd like the Ferrari F2004 is the proverbial icing on the cake. These cars all have their own individual character as well, so the high-horsepower cars on grooved slicks may reach impossibly high top speeds, but also take a bit more to slow down, and some setup work to plant the rear end when you get on the power. My lap at Australia in the F2004 was a full second faster than the real life pole time, but in taking the same car to Sao Paulo, I only clicked off a lap just five tenths faster than Barrichello, so in terms of the almighty simulation value we all bitch endlessly about, Formula One 2017 is right in line with the other pieces of software the diehards hold in such high regard.

But of course, even though this game ships with dynamic weather, a dynamic racing line, dynamic drying line in wet weather conditions, puddles on the race track, a voice activated race engineer, engine degradation based on the five key components of the engine, fuel mixture management, parc ferme rules, weekend tire selection, engine component management between races, a comprehensive R&D tree, animated pit stops, a formation lap, three types of yellow flag periods, manual race starts, manual pit lane control accompanied by a pit limiter toggle (new for this year), wheel tethers during accidents, dirty air, tire punctures, and unique practice programs to automatically generate a custom-tailored pit stop strategy to your needs, elitist sim racers will still sperg over the mere mention of this game on hardcore-oriented simulation websites, implying this is a game for teenagers to pretend they’re some kind of pretend Formula One driver and nothing more.


Fuck you.

Formula One 2017 is the greatest racing simulator that has ever been created. This $60 purchase is impossibly good, and while we’ve had to suffer through some abominations from Codemasters in previous years, this one has been well worth the wait. This is the absolute pinnacle of driving games, and ignoring this modern masterpiece in favor of ultra-stale simulators that offer little more than “here are some cars and some tracks” is only reinforcing the stereotype that sim racers merely use their favorite genre of games as an elitist masturbatory tool. In a rare instance, the unanimous glowing reviews surrounding Formula One 2017 are not the work of paid shills, but rather the result of perseverance from a team who certainly got their shit together.


91 thoughts on “The Benchmark

  1. Austin, I watched your F1 2017 YT vids and it was quite gratifying to see wheel inputs and racing lines that look almost exactly what I’ve seen in actual F1 2017 onboards at the same tracks. It was really cool actually – little counter-steer flicks on corner exit, shit like that. Looked really…Real.

    Have you thought about maybe doing a lap at Albert Park and putting your onboard right next to an actual onboard? I love that shit for some reason. Reassures me that my F1 game has *meaning*.

    Meanwhile, I’ve instructed our glorious KPA to (temporarily) take your town off the target list while you complete this important task.

    Get to work.


    1. Hello, greatest leader!

      I did pretty much exactly that, with the RB6. I went on time trial with James and recorded my PB on release night, decided to compare it with Vettel’s actual pole lap and… yeah.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The track model is at least 1 metre too wide, plus you are driving all over the kerbs and grass with no speed penalty, which takes about another metre out of the T1 apex. Both issues Codemasters has had since F1 2010, and both issues should result in a completely different laptime, because it’s a completely different track.


      2. Cool video. Damn, looks pretty close to me. Yes, there are some issues with track limits and such, but it’s still pretty damn impressive how far things have come in terms of verisimilitude.

        I noticed one big problem in Austin’s run at Albert Park. It looked like he put a wheel on the grass under heavy braking. Vettel actually did that one year during FP and instantly swapped ends. That doesn’t seem to happen in Codies F1 games. If they could tighten up those track limits and make grass act a bit less like tarmac, we might really have something here.

        Newey said the RB6 had the highest downforce of any F1 car ever (presumably including the 2017’s). Which is amazing,when you look at how much “cleaner” it looks than the 2007-8 cars. I guess the underbody and diffuser were incredible.


        1. I do think the 17 cars now generate more downforce but the RB6 was indeed an incredible car, thanks to Newey magic and Renault’s exhaust blowing.


          1. It’s funny. I remember *hating* how the 2009-2013 cars looked back then. They looked almost anorexic to me. Now, I look back and think they’re beautiful and sleek. But I really miss the early 90’s, when each car looked so unique.

            If F1 really wants to re-ignite people’s fascination with the sport, they have to find a way to loosen up the design rules. Right now, it would be nearly impossible to distinguish a Sauber from a Mercedes if you swapped liveries, which is boring.

            BTW, you can rest assured that each one of our nukes is designed to be a unique, aesthetically-pleasing snowflake. No way will I allow the KPA to repeat the mistakes of the decadent FIA (what else can you expect from a French bureaucracy?).

            I mean, what good is a nuclear arsenal if it doesn’t *look* good?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. F1 really dropped the ball with the current regs. The wider cars do look better but it’s still too hard to overtake. They need to mandate simpler wings and increased reliance on ground effect to create downforce. Indycar’s 2018 chassis got it right in this regard. For my money the late 80s cars with the lowline engine covers and simple wings were the best F1 has ever looked

              Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks for the compliment. It is good to see another decadent Westerner renounce their ignorance and embrace the Revolutionary Path of Juche-Oriented Socialism.

            Please send rice and hard currency in addition to compliments, however.


  2. People are gonna lose their fricking minds reading this article – comments should get really interesting.

    I’m afraid I’m gonna have to bite the bullet and drop the $60 on this one to see for myself. I held out on F1 2016 until this year’s steam summer sale and was glad I did…not a bad game by any stretch (Codies best F1 effort by a country mile, for sure), but I found the driving experience only served to make me wish I was playing a “real” sim. Sounds like maybe this year’s entry goes a bit further…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Haven’t yet had a chance to try the game but I’m pleasantly surprised to hear you were left with such an overwhelmingly positive impression. These games have steadily been improving since 2015 and unfortunately the majority of sim players, being closed minded elitists, have missed that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We aren’t elitists and closed minded. We know f1 2012, f1 2013 were good games. Maybe even 2009/10 were good. But in 2014 and so on it was just more of the same. Perhaps now is worth again to play this series starting from the 2017 game.


  4. Ahem…
    If I might interrupt your enthusiasm a tiny bit: Yes, the game is great, especially online (because of the new contact model). When it works. And it doesn’t work fucking half the time; it’s absolutely riddled with bugs. Every ten or so sessions, everyone’s games except the host’s suddenly close themselves, the collisions get randomly turned off even when explicitly put on “on”, the Force Feedback of the wheel users crashes when someone joins the lobby after disconnecting before and sometimes, the whole lobby gets dsq for NO reason.

    Can it be an absolutely brilliant racing game? Well, yes. But not until the patch that tidies this mess up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It always looked to me like professional drivers giving their opinion on racing games was useless, because the stuff on the screen has nothing to do with real life, so they’ll treat anything “serious” like I treat Mario Kart, with detached enjoyment.

    I wonder if Austin’s real driving experience might be at play here, because if you’re driving fast on a regular basis, the flat blurry experience on the screen just doesn’t matter at all any more. You look at all the features, and he appears to enjoy career modes and stuff like that, so as long as the experience is not total garbage like it has been in the past, then he’s going to be happy.

    The Virtualr and RaceDepartment shills, I can understand, because they’re happy people who are happy to spend money on shit they don’t even enjoy to “support the devs, durrr”, but here I don’t get it.

    I suppose lowering the standards for this will make the Project Cars 2 review less shady?

    And why can’t CM program menus with mouse support, yet they can make the best home simulator ever made? And what happened to decent anti-aliasing? Can you set the degree of rotation or is there obscure settings like sensitivity or saturation?

    I’m not buying this either way, but I sure am curious.


  6. Reminder that James shits on everything when he reads something bad about it, and then praises anything after he actually sits down and tries it for longer than 2 hours. He has gone through this shit on/praise cycle with literally every racing game he has written about, from Project CARS 1, Assetto Corsa, F1 2016, Loeb Rally Evo, iRacing, GRID Autosport, even NASCAR 14.

    His Steam profile is public, so we know he wrote this article with 6.8 hours of playtime, after playing literally zero other sims for the past 2 weeks that aren’t Project CARS 2. He hasn’t put more than 2 hours into AMS or AC for the entire year, spending vastly more time in GRID 1 and GRID Autosport. He didn’t directly compare F1 2017 to the similar cars available in AMS or AC because he thrives on the drama he creates. He’d rather end the article by referring to critic reviews (which he hates, remember), while mentioning paid shills of those *other* games in the same breath. Never mind the fact that they have 20 times less employees and income.

    You can’t actually simulate hybrid-era F1 racecraft at all without allowing the player to balance ERS deployment and harvesting throughout every lap, which F1 2017 doesn’t even pay lip service to. But what would James know, he’s never even tried the complex iRacing and AC offerings. He thinks “fuel mixture management” is not only enough, but a standout feature worthy of praise.

    James has no real convictions. If he was sent a direct drive wheel or VR for free he would praise them, but they are outright scams otherise. If it has a career mode and a polished AAA presentation he’ll be happy, even if it was 2014-era iRacing or Assetto Corsa 1.2 at its core. Immersion is the only thing that matters, unless it’s the immersion machine that is VR. Removing and ignoring a two year old VR codebase is totally fine in that case. This is a “robust” game. What’s a mouse?

    Most people don’t want an EA-style emulation of the bland world of modern Formula One, especially without any junior series cars or classic tracks to speak of. This yearly Codemasters release isn’t the greatest racing simulator that has ever been created, but it is pretty good. For their eighth attempt at least. Maybe the ninth won’t have broken multiplayer and exploitable AI.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Most people don’t want an EA-style emulation of the bland world of modern Formula One”
      This is what GT and IndyCucks actually believe.

      I’m not sure why anyone would want iRacing’s assfucked ERS deployment and the extent the driver manages that on track is pressing what buttons his engineer tells him anyways.


    2. >You can’t actually simulate hybrid-era F1 racecraft at all without allowing the player to balance ERS deployment and harvesting throughout every lap, which F1 2017 doesn’t even pay lip service to.

      Ah, such total bullshit based on half-understanding,

      The drivers themselves are *told* what modes to use, etc. The fact that F1 2017 has an abstraction layer is totally appropriate in this case (unless they want to simulate your race engineer telling you what buttons to push, which seems ridiculous – why not just have the game do it for you).

      Yes, the drivers do exercise *some* control, but F1 is now a fuel economy formula as much as anything else. They can’t just go engaging this or that mode willy-nilly without running out of fuel – all of which is far too complex for the driver to keep track of. Hence the fact that the race engineer is the one essentially calling the shots and informing the driver if it’s OK to use various ERS deployment modes and the like.

      What AC does with the SF15-T is force the *driver* to do the work of both the driver *and* the race engineer – simultaneously. That’s ridiculous and unrealistic.


      1. Nope. In AC you pick Balanced High or Low mode depending on the bar status and then hit the shortcut to Hotlap mode when you have a chance to pass. Which is pretty much what drivers do.


        1. Yeah – total simplicity:

          In-car Controls
          Assetto Corsa’s detailed model of the Ferrari SF15-T allows the virtual driver to manipulate the various configuration settings of the 059/4 PU in much the same way Ferrari’s race drivers do in real life. The default control assignments, and their functions are noted below:

          CTRL+1: MGU-K Re-gen rate. This is covered by 10 settings (0%-100%). This manages how aggressively the MGU-K harvests energy from braking events on the rear axle. With 100% being the most aggressive setting and thus harvesting the most energy into the battery at a given time. Thus, management of this setting can affect the handling of the car in a number of ways:
          A higher percentage of energy regeneration in the MGU-K will mean for a greater level of retardation upon the rear axle when off throttle (coast) and braking, possibly resulting in entry oversteer. Higher regen will also result in longer braking distances. With the offset being that the internal ERS battery SOC will increase faster based on the higher percentage.
          A lower percentage of energy regeneration will mean less energy is being charged into the ERS battery for deployment on power. The offset to this is a more precise level of braking control via normal brake balance, and shorter braking distances.
          CTRL+2: MGU-K Deployment profiles: These are named profiles that define variable rates of MGU-K power output to the rear wheels under power.
          CTRL+3: MGU-H Mode:This setting controls how the MGU-H operates in conjunction with other PU components:
          Motor: In this mode the MGU-H will recover energy from exhaust gases and direct this power directly into the MGU-K, thus supplementing overall power output.
          Battery: In this mode the MGU-H recovers exhaust gases and diverts this energy into the ERS battery to increase the SOC.
          CTRL+4: Engine Brake (Range 1-13): This setting sets the ECU within the ICU to retain a small percentage of fuel flow to blow onto the diffuser, reducing engine braking from the ICU on coast. This offsets the high level of coast locking on the rear axle that is generated with higher MGU-K regen settings (CTRL+1).
          Lower settings reduce the level of engine braking and thus reduces retardation from the drivetrain onto the rear axle under coast. This provides easier management of rear axle locking with MGU-K regen and brake balance. Due to the increase in diffuser exhaust flow, a lower setting will also provide additional rear downforce and stability. However, a lower engine brake settings will consume more fuel and thus affect fuel consumption over a stint.
          Higher settings allow a more conventional drivetrain linkage and thus more retardation to the rear axle from the ICU, this needs to be balanced against MGU-K re-gen settings to provide a comfortable balance for the driver along with suitable fuel consumption numbers.


          1. Nice copy paste. Now try driving the car fast and you’ll realize it’s what I said for race day. Balanced map and bursts of hotlap when needed.

            For quali you pick no regen and hotlap and that’s it.


      2. ERS, DRS, KERS. It’s all a load of techno bollocks anyway, brought in to make it more interesting for the spoon-fed TV enthusiasts who wouldn’t know a good race if they’d seen one.
        In the U.K. all these poxy acronyms sound like furniture stores, which salary from watching F1 is possibly the most boring way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


  7. Kerb your enthusiasm fam. We don’t want people thinking you’re telling people good things about games for money or something.


    1. if you’re not paying for the service, you are the service, and since this is a free to browse website, i guess that means you paid for it.


  8. I tried it but have submitted a refund request.

    Controller Issues (using Fanatec CSW v2, CSP v3):

    Button mappings are all over the place. Everytime I went into the game it was asking me to map my controls again because I have a Fanatec club sport handbrake attached with the USB adaptor. All the menu options were showing button numbers for my wheel rim which I don’t know – why couldn’t it show the keyboard buttons (I think this may happen if you press a button on your controller to start the game).

    I was unable to map the brake bias +/- to the rotary encoder on my wheel (Porsche 918 rim). I note in the preset controller configurations they have the two original rims, Formula and BMW, listed but not mine which was being picked up as the universal hub. Wonder if this has something to do with it.

    The game was listed as supporting ButtKickers. I couldn’t find any menu option to activate this. Why list support if your not providing a dedicated output for tactile feedback.

    The game doesn’t automatically configure the correct degrees of rotation on your wheel appropriate to the car you are driving. In this day age! Yes I can quickly adjust this on my wheel, and I did, but then you don’t get any lock stops simulated.

    The force feedback itself was nothing special and by default has a terrible canned road noise effect which was hammering away at my wheel rim.


    Game runs very well (GTX 1080, i7 4930K) on triple screens (6010*1080) but lacks proper support which I knew in advance. Couldn’t get used to this however. If they introduced VR support, my preferred option these days, I’d give it another go. While the controller support is painful this was the main issue putting me off. Just knew I wouldn’t be able to get any enjoyment out of it playing in this way.

    There’s a terrible heat haze effect given off by the car in front of you, even at Spa in wet and presumably cold conditions.


    Didn’t really spend long enough on track with all the other issues to form an opinion on this.


    1. My, you’ve certainly got a lot of hardware there to support. I don’t think sim-racing fetishists are really this game’s target market.

      Did you consider maybe unhooking some of that junk and just try driving instead of obsessing over your buttkickers etc?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Buttkickers are working with SimVibe, but it sucks because the physics of this game sucks. But you will not noticing it because FFB-effects is just a tiny part of the physics-engine and only SimVibe- or Motion-setups give you a view besides your blinkers. Driving without seat of pants effects is completely lifeless for me and like VR i would never drive without again.


  9. So here we have a game with:

    -Horrible tracks from F1 2010 with no accuracy at all (just re-textured year after year)
    -Absolutely zero simulation of ERS systems, one of the main features of the current generation of F1 cars.
    -Cars that drive quite far from the real ones (historic cars that were mega planted having in game no rear grip out of corners suddenly)
    -Cars that are ridiculously easy to powerslide everywhere
    -AI that often totally ignores your presence
    -AI that has supergrip in some corners and super slow in others
    -Bland and uninformative FFB, with big input lag
    -Online that is a total buggy mess

    And then, you compare the driving with AMS version, that drives absolutely nothing like this game’s cars, lol.

    “This is the absolute pinnacle of driving games”

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I mean that’s great and all but F1 is like the most snooze-inducing racing series ever. Nowhere else is it EXPECTED that there’s an average of one pass per race. If that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. 100% Agree. If only Codies would release another BTCC game…
    Oh and a GT3 one as well. Maybe Indycar too.
    Perhaps they could package it all into one game, it’ll be better than the other one that’s about to come out.


  12. Who the fuck enjoys poor FFB, inaccurate tracks, cars with self-repairable damage and dumb AI?

    Oh now I get it, James is not a sim racer, so he does.


  13. I’m not convinced a racing game that disqualifies the entire field at the end of most multiplayer races can really be considered “the benchmark” for anything other than shitty bugginess


  14. Sorry James, it drives like utter shit ONE MORE YEAR when the car is on the tarmac, and ONE MORE YEAR the curbs, turf and grass do nothing.

    I take it you haven’t got a clue about single seater racing because if you think this is remotely representative you MUST be clueless.

    I can’t believe I bit the bait again, will return the game tomorrow. Every year the same bullshit about improved handling and then they barf the same shit.


  15. Sorry James, the “high horspower grooved slick cars” have LESS peak power than 2017 cars, so if they reach “impossibly high top speeds” they’re not accurate.

    Also those cars were much lighter and also draggy with all the winglets so it’s not normal if they “take longer to slow down”. Get a clue about F1 before talking about what’s accurate and what’s not.


    1. You have no idea what you’re talking about. Late V10 era cars had far more power at the end of the straight than the current cars do when they’ve already dumped their battery and likely gone into recharge mode and track specific winglets mean fuck for drag compared to wider cars with wider tires. 2005 Monza trap speeds were still significantly higher than 2016 and 2017 will be nowhere close to that.

      If you have higher top speeds and lower apex speeds guess what it takes more deceleration.


      1. You are clueless mate. A 2017 car in quali trim deploys full power all the way to the end of the straights.

        And indeed mid 00’s cars had far better braking ability because they were more than 100 kg lighter on fumes, even more during races. And yes, they were more draggy too as most downforce came from upper surfaces and diffusers were much smaller. Have a look at the decel G forces moron.


        1. In Q trim they have less power on the longest straights though. Deployment is limited per lap and using it at high speed is the least efficient way. Top end deployment is for passing and defending.

          The winglets are relevant at Monaco in max downforce configuration but they aren’t present at every track. If you actually watch qualifying laps the 2017 cars have to brake slightly earlier for slow corners because of their weight but they can go much deeper into fast corners because of the downforce. Pouhon is barely a lift at entry in qualifying now (or none if you have a Honda…) while it was a two gears down and feather it all the way through the first left in the V10 days.

          Admittedly there’s some pretty monumental trap speeds out of the Force Indias and Williams but speeds at the end of Kemmel Straight are pretty much the same for a 2004 McLaren and a 2017 Mercedes.


  16. Isn’t the over-courteous AI behaviour the thing that actually spoiled Project Cars for most people? Or have you warmed to it to prepare us for more of the same in PC2 ? I really hope not.


        1. The fact that ya never feel as though you’re racing against the AI ruined it for me. You just know they’ll hand you the position by even taking to the grass to do it.
          Please tell us they’ve been given testicles in the new version.


          1. So James, is this a “prepare yourselves for more shit AI on September 22nd” justification, or are you really an advocate of AI that doesn’t want to race?


  17. This is a tweet from South African negro politician Andile Mngxitama, leader of the Black First Land First movement.

    This negro has an amusing way with words. Another of his recent gems is: “Africans had universities when white people were still running naked in Europe, beating each other with clubs over the head and eating raw fish.”

    Of course the African universities are as mythical as Jews being turned into lampshades and soap.


    1. Soap doesn’t exist, it was created in a dream by a mythical creature. Everyone knows this and lampshades are hats for drunk people. You shouldn’t discriminate against drunk people, it isn’t nice.


  18. “No.

    Fuck you.

    Formula One 2017 is the greatest racing simulator that has ever been created. This $60 purchase is impossibly good, and while we’ve had to suffer through some abominations from Codemasters in previous years, this one has been well worth the wait. This is the absolute pinnacle of driving games”



  19. You guys want to hear my really cynical take? I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but here goes…

    I’ve already bought, played, and refunded F1 2017. It’s a really solid simcade title, but I spent the entire time wishing I was playing one of my other sims.

    Depending on how you want to define the word, this is by far the most detailed “simulation” of F1 the world has ever seen. From a physics/FFB standpoint though, it felt…well…like a Codies F1 game. Just not my cup of tea, but I think a lot of people with a different taste in games than I will get a ton of enjoyment out of it and I sincerely hope they have a great time with it.

    OK, now for the cynical part that I really hope I’m wrong about…

    I don’t always agree with James’ takes and I think he’s been guilty of a stretch here and there to make a story out of thin air, but for the most part I have a ton of respect for what he’s done with PRC from absolute nothing and I think it’s been a vital net positive for the community and industry.

    Here is my fear: James is on the SMS payroll. To his credit, he’s made this fact well known and has not apologized for it. My strong suspicion is that, when PCars2 lands in our collective laps, it’s going to be somewhere between a mediocre and a very well done simcade (time will tell). My spidey sense is telling me James is trying to establish a “what if the so-called ‘simcades’ were the ones getting it right the whole time?!?!” narrative in advance of PCars2 release. So, when it’s released and everyone is shit-slinging and calling James a shill for a simcade game, he can point back to his track record and claim consistency.

    Just a hunch, I could be totally wrong (and hope I am).

    For the record, I’m not one of the “if it ain’t hard, it ain’t real” dumbshits. In fact, the very first time I ever became aware of James’ existence was for a piece he wrote way back when he was still at RD stating this exact point (how GPL, for all its greatness, had established this false hard = realistic relationship). I just think there is a line between simcade and true sim. True sims are for me; simcades are for others; some like both. Whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. t. 50 year old sim dad who thinks anything that isn’t wrecking every corner and trying to kill you means it is a “simcade” ….

      Some how they let Danica Patrick strap herself into a car every weekend, and anyone with enough $ can get themselves a GP2 ride all the way up to a F1 ride. I’m not convinced racing cars in real life are some how more difficult to drive than a family sedan.


    2. “My spidey sense is telling me James is trying to establish a “what if the so-called ‘simcades’ were the ones getting it right the whole time?!?!” narrative in advance of PCars2 release.”

      I alluded to this in my comment yesterday, and to me it looks like this is where PRC is going. I know he’s one of those who like the career, the completeness of the simulation of everything around the driving, but there’s a way of conveying that without writing a piece like this one.

      One has to be pretty deluded to take this game as anything other than F1 20XX: a bit better than last time, but with poor anti-aliasing.


    3. Like another Anonymous stated before, he´s not playing sims anymore so he´s not influenced from better physics:D

      But it´s not only about simcade is better (even he knows shit about real race-cars setup for righthand corners as well), it´s about whitewashing his opinion. Just praising one title is too suspicious.

      I hope pCars 2 is much better than F1 because the physics in pCars 1 are already better than F1. F1 is simcade, but pCars 1 is a sim, which doesn´t saying it´s a good sim.


    4. james, in the 5 years i’ve known him, has always loved arcade games. shit like monster truck madness, and other random games. his love of early need for speed is well known, as are shit like lego racers.

      james like racing games that are enjoyable, and deliver the experience that is advertised.


  20. Hence my question about the over courteous AI. We’re being primed for more shit AI in September is my fear. Before you jump on him for not mentioning it beforehand.


  21. Having played F1 2016 and F1 2017 – a couple of thoughts:

    The traction is significantly better modeled. Corners in F1 2016 was like being on ice when you had even the lightest of acceleration. Now there is some ability to better apply acceleration coming out of the corner.

    FFB is much better – and the surface of the track is felt more (beyond the curbs) – also better feel when car is slipping.

    The various circuits are spot on – unlike Assetto Corsa where tracks like Monza (no second DRS zone and first DRS zone is incorrect in placement) there are significant errors.

    The variation of performance of the different F1 2017 is apparent, with some detail – which cars have better/worse engine performance, which have better/worse chassis, etc.

    The R&D development in career mode gives some interesting insight in how to develop a car that best matches personal driving skills (or lack thereof)

    The three big next improvements that Codemasters needs to do is telemetry (a big item) along with a few more items for setup; and – agreeing with a comment above – a management system for MGU. Assetto Corsa does a great job with this.

    Overall, I really enjoy this game (given only having played for two days) and very happy with the purchase. It is a major improvement over F1 2016 – which however was a significant improvement over the poor 2014 version.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Slight correction: Silverstone National isn’t in the game, it’s the layout on the other half of the track (Silverstone International) that is used.

    I’m also have a good time with the game, the F2004 at Baku is an absolute dream combination that must be tried out.

    Can you do a follow-up article with some setups? The defaults are okay but I’d like to see what a competent sim-racer can do with this new physics model since I’m not experienced enough to fully exploit it.


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