“F1 2010” – first play (Pictures & video)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

F1 2010 by Codemasters arrives for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in September
F1 2010 by Codemasters arrives for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in September

Codemasters claim “F1 2010” will be “a departure for F1 games”.

F1 fans have been waiting four years for a new official F1 game for the latest generation console formats. In the last 12 months we’ve had hundreds of comments on this site discussing what should be in the game.

F1 Fanatic put your questions to Codemasters at their launch event in London today – and was among the first people to play an early version of “F1 2010”.


Senior producer Paul Jeal promised “F1 2010” would offer “authentic, predictable and consistent handling.” I sampled a ‘pre-alpha build’ (‘early version’ in non-gamers lingo) of the game to put that claim to the test.

Even in this early version the handling feels more convincing than the decidedly arcade-style “F1 2009”. Stamping the throttle and throwing the car around do not work here. Drop off a Monza kerb with the accelerator down too far and you pirouette in an instant.

But nor did the game feel punishingly difficult. I quickly got a feel for how the car behaved and got into a satisfying rhythm within a couple of laps.

This is not a bleeding-edge hardcore simulation – it feels more like “Gran Turismo” or “Forza” than “Grand Prix Legends”. It’s easy to pick up but requires a bit of concentration to master.

They have toned down the realism when it comes to following closely behind another car. The handful of videos Codemasters showed us of the game featured more overtaking than the whole of the Bahrain Grand Prix – and that’s probably for the best.

You do have more control over the car settings than in previous games. The driver can alter engine management settings to get more power at the expense of fuel economy. Use up too much of your engine life an you risk falling foul of the faithfully-recreated limit of eight engines per season. And, of course, you can tweak the adjustable front wing.

But I couldn’t find a button to control the drivers’ knee to operate the McLaren’s infamous F-duct.

Rain and rubber

Codemasters are especially proud of their track simulation which they call ‘active track technology’. This re-calculates the grip levels on the surface for every 30cm the players’ car travels, taking into account build-up of rubber, marbles from the tyres and, of course, the weather.

This has a clear effect on your car’s handling. Not only do your tyres pick up dirt if you go off the track, but braking off-line is trickier. Go out on the track in the first minutes of Friday practice and you’ll find it’s ‘green’ – low on grip – making your lap times slower. You’ll have to pay attention to how the track develops to pick the best moment to set a time in qualifying.

When rain falls the track gets greasy and eventually puddles develop. If the rain stops a dry line begins to emerge and you’ll have to look after your tyres by seeking out damp patches of track.

We saw some video of the rain effects and they look genuinely impressive. Clouds of spray billow off the cars and reflections shimmer in the puddles on the track.


Codemasters promises a more sophisticated car damage model than we’ve seen on previous games. As well as knocking off wings and wheels you can damage your suspension which unbalances your handling. Debris from collisions can land on the track and cause more damage.

Some of this can be fixed with a quick visit to the pits but make sure you stop on your marks – one video they showed us featured a car knocking a team member down.

Your driving style can provoke damage too. Repeatedly lock a wheel and you can see blisters and flat-spots develop on the rubber. Keep punishing your tyres and they’ll eventually burst.


Artificial intelligence is one area where F1 games have fallen down in the past, with drivers either weaving across the track absurdly or making no attempt to defend their position at al.

In “F1 2010” cars defend their positions and try to break your tow. Interestingly, the team say they’ve tried to model the characteristics of individual drivers, so some are better in the wet than others, and some do better at certain tracks, such as Felipe Massa at Istanbul.

Your relationship with your team mate plays a bigger role in “F1 2010” than in previous F1 games. No longer is he just the guy in the other car – you have to fight and beat him to get the team on your side. Finish ahead often enough and you’ll have access to performance upgrades before he does – just like in real life.

The paddock

Codemasters’ brand manager Paul Waters believes “F1 games have always done having the cars on track very well”. He explained the team set out to do more than just simulate F1 racing, but allow players to take control of their virtual career in a way they’ve never been able to before.

In career mode, your time outside of the car plays an important role in the game. You’ll go inside your garage and the team trucks – which are modelled for the first time in an F1 game, they say.

How well perform is reflected in how many journalists are camped outside your motorhome waiting to ask questions, and how many fans turn up to your autograph sessions.

You can even criticise your team in press conferences which will do you no favours if you’re a struggling up-and-comer.

Multiplayer and more

So what’s missing? The team admitted that the safety car – one of the most requested features in the comments on F1 Fanatic – will not feature in the game. According to Codemasters it added to little to the playing experience to merit inclusion. However the full range of warning flags will be simulated including red flags for race stoppages.

Nor will players be able to drive the formation lap – again the team said they felt it added too little to the game compared to other aspects. However this feature and the safety car is being considered in the 2011 version of the game.

Because of license restrictions you can only play with the 2010 season cars and tracks. Codemasters say they looked at adding feeder series to the game but decided it would take too long to do.

The timing of the game’s release means it will be on the shelves before the cars have raced at the new Korean circuit, meaning that track will have to be built without data from the race weekend. However the team are confident that can build it accurately and have no plans for a post-Korea patch to improve the simulation.

Up to 13 people will be able to play at once in online multiplayer. Curiously, the team said they had been advised by FOM to leave the slot for a 13th team free in case one appears later this season.

The version of the game we played today which you can see in the pictures below is still in the early stages of development. Although some of the aspects fans might want to see won’t appear in the game the early signs are very encouraging. But we won’t know for sure how good it is until the game finally arrives this September.

Codemasters F1 2010 screengrabs

Codemasters F1 2010 video

This video shows ‘pre-alpha’ code which uses unfinished graphics and last season’s cars. The final game will use the 2010 season cars, tracks and drivers.

This second video was shot at the event and, again, features pre-alpha build code. Look out for Raikkonen going over the top of the Red Bull:

Read more: ??F1 2010??? by Codemasters arrives for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in September

185 comments on ““F1 2010” – first play (Pictures & video)”

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  1. Very excited for this. Playing Forza until then.

    I love the idea of unlockable cars. Who wouldn’t want to have a go in past champion cars on these amazing tracks. Brawn 09, Mclaren 08, Ferrari 07, etc…

  2. Interesting video, ridiculously annoying editing.

    Nice to see Davidson in there.

  3. Because of license restrictions you can only play with the 2010 season cars and tracks.

    This is a bit of a shame as they have obviously already modelled the 2009 cars, hopefully they will not remove the content entirely and simply hide it, then someone can ‘unlock’ the cars (on the pc version at least.)

    1. One of those annoying legal things that gets in the way of making a truly great game. How cool would it be to be able to play a career over a series of seasons, working your way up through the teams? This isn’t Codemasters failing, it’s at FOM’s end. Must be a fairly new thing, though, because there was a game set over three or four seasons a couple of years ago.

      1. The Comedian 39
        18th March 2010, 10:17

        Yeah there was a career mode in F106 (maybe the previous 1s too, can’t remember now), the thing was everything stayed the same, no calender change, driver change etc. I wish we could have a career mode starting in 2004 driving for jordan or Minardi, making the way up the grid, seeing teams and drivers change…
        oh well, i can dream :)

        1. EA Sports had F1 Career Challenge on the Playstation which was pretty good, found it a bit arcadey though.

      2. EA’s F1 career challenge on the PC did that, also you could download newer season patches from fans.

  4. Cool!

    They say it’s realistic. So can I jump out the car and throw spanners at the mechanics, or go and whack another driver on the head when he crashes into me? :-)

    That would be awsome. It would be similar to the ‘dive’ button on FIFA 2010 :-)

    I hope they have all the intrigue and new developments that your team can make throughout the season, and I can take out Schumacher at the final turn in Abu Dhabi to win the title. Without a stewards inquiry :-)

    1. Or that you take the other guys car? Like a mix between Grand Theft Auto and F1. Grand Theft F1?

      1. Grand Theft F1? Can’t believe no one has mentioned McLaren yet ;)

  5. mmmmh! i have my doubts about it…

    i like that the track gets faster and that if you race off the line, it’s dirty so you go slower. I also like the engine managment, and the off-track action they promise.

    But if it isn’t a true simulator like IT SHOULD, then, ill keep my rFactor, thank you.

  6. What console did you test it on Keith?

    1. An Xbox 360. Looked like some kind of special development machine with an extra piece of hardware attached.

      1. Ahh, the Xbox 360 development kit version. £8000 worth of kit, so I’m told.

        Whoever was playing in that video really mullered that Ferrari into Variante Ascari. Nice to see the crash physics there, with the flipping and wheel bashing.

        Not that I’ll want to spend the game crashing all the time, just nice to know it’s there.

      2. Known in the trade as a DevKit, and console with its brains hanging out so the bug monkeys and crayons can get into it and tell it what to do.

  7. Waht’s the price ?

    1. Not announced yet. Wouldn’t expect it to be less than typical retail prices for games though. The licence must’ve cost them a fair bit.

    2. It should be £39.99 with most new 360/pS3 games, hopefully there will be a demo to try it out before release.

      Also keith you should try arranging a f1fanatic world tournament or something for either console/PC, since there are alot of gamers/F1 fans like me who would like to race against people, you do have the fans to pull it off.

      1. Sounds fun. How do I do that?

        1. Untitled258
          18th March 2010, 0:04

          Unless there is an option to create a league in the game which people can join, you would have to get every to post there gamertags on here, then arrange a private online race, give people in the race the password, get every body to go online at the same time to race. I dunno how a championship would work because i would presume not everyone can compete in all the races. Unless, you created an averaging system where you took the number of races a person has competed in, and there results of said races, with fancy maths the average race position could be found and a league table could be created on that?

          I dunno, im rambleing and I’m tired, but something could be done through the site, or even through the FORUM :-p

        2. polishboy808
          18th March 2010, 0:08

          Well i’m not totally sure how it works, but there are leagues in Rfactor, if you create one specifically for f1, and create a server on Rfactor, then people in the F1 Fanatic League (we’ll call it that for now) would be able to join with a password that you enter into a password box, and race. You would have to make a mod specific server (lets say wcp 2009 f1, rf1 etc…) and give the members the password to enter. If this is possible, it would be perfect, as im looking for a league to join, and anyone with rfactor would like to race with the same people we discuss with every day right here on F1F!

          1. polishboy808
            18th March 2010, 0:10

            woops sorry, i was talkin bout rfactor not codemasters f1, sorry! But i geuss it would work like grid, which i dont remember there being private servers.

        3. I’m all for grabbing as many Gamertags from other F1Fanatics to play racing games online with, especially the impending F1 2010.

          TommyB and myself already have a blast on Forza 3… when he’s around.

          1. The Comedian 39
            18th March 2010, 10:20

            i have forza 3 :)

            The Comedian 39 is my gamertag if you’re interested.

          2. ‘ajokay’ is mine, I’ll watch out for you!

          3. polishboy808
            18th March 2010, 12:21

            My gamertag polishboy808, I play mostly forza 3

        4. well ofc there would be hundreds of people wanting to do it so you might want to have a qualification round to knock out the “slower” people.

          I guess after rounds and rounds of qualifying you get to 12-13 people left.

          Or do yourself a quicker favour and just have everyone wanting to enter in this tournament and just pick 12-13 names out of a hat/computer system/ball machine etc… to save effort.

          You could even have 24-26 drivers by having 2 tournaments going on at the same time for “constructors points” example: Me being Schumacher other person in tournament “B” is being rosberg both points are combined for the year.

          prizes: certificates for points, small custom medal “gold silver bronze” for podiums, fastest lap gets a painting of their choice.

          WDC prize: your choice, and also instant entry for next year maybe?

          WCC prize: your choice

          Also would be a good idea to have a console only tournament, since consoles are the same in power PC’s are not, and consoles are hard to “manipulate” the outcome of a race but if it works you could do all 3 systems 360/ps3/pc your choice again keith.

          1. also make it manual gear change no automatic, so it’s a real f1 tournament, realism to the max I say.

          2. My gamertag is Mr Flobadob if we’re getting this up and running lol. Can do an rFactor league til F1 2010 comes out though.

        5. I’ve Run a Project Gotham 2 league a few years back, once a week Multi tiered, you could gain promotion by winning the season (usually bi-monthly), 2 players per team. Also helped with a moto gp and moto gp 2 league when xbox live first came out, similar set up. Just make a login page so people can view their ranking, 1 moderator to record and input scores and times (race and lap) and make a simple web form to fill out and have the results displayed in a table. If you want something like that email me i could help you get something sorted, you’d have to code all the web stuff as i have no idea, but as far as coming up with a system so everyone is ranked and can play, well, i’m your man.

  8. This’ll probably be the first computer game I’ve bought since 2000 or 2001! Looking forward to it.

  9. I believe he said he tested on the XBOX 360…

  10. dont think i would ever need another game in my life when this comes out.

    P.S: The reason why codemasters dont put a safety car in, is to stop a guy and his mate cheating by doing a piquet jnr stunt so he can win.

  11. Why is everyone bothered about a safety car? I’m interested in racing, not cruising behind a safety car lap after lap…

    1. Yeah and then the people who abnsolutely MUST have it say they will switch it off after trying it for a few times?!?!?!

      Talk about a waste of development effort. I’d rather they’d spend that time on something useful.

      How about telemetry for instance? Is that in the game?

      That’s what made GP2 so great. Someone hacked the game so that it recorded the telemetry. That added a whole new dimension of realism. You could compare your laps to improve setup and laptimes.

  12. This all sounds awesome!
    Can’t remember when I was this excited by a game.

  13. Robert McKay
    17th March 2010, 22:55

    The “active track technology” sounds impressive, assuming it does actually make a noticeable difference, as does the driver-specific AI.

    I like the 8-engine rule and the fron wing flap adjuster is an impressive feature that would have been easy to ignore. It sounds like if they’re going to that level of detail then it ought to be pretty impressive.

    It does LOOK really good too…

  14. this is the game f1 fans have been waiting for

  15. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    17th March 2010, 23:07

    Looks brilliant can’t wait :)

  16. Prisoner Monkeys
    17th March 2010, 23:09

    Looking good.

    But whoever is playing in that second video is a pretty poor driver. I hope it’s not that easy to pass everyone, either …

    1. Jarred Walmsley
      18th March 2010, 4:29

      I think thats Keith! :)

      1. It’s not, I’m not sure who it was actually, sorry!

        But I didn’t do much better in the first couple of laps. I was surprised how tricky it was to get the braking right for the chicanes and put down the power coming out of them. On my third lap I started to get into the groove a bit.

  17. chucky pancamo
    17th March 2010, 23:14

    cant freakin wait

  18. Jraybay-HamiltonMclarenfan
    17th March 2010, 23:15

    Thanks keith this is the most information I seen so far and I never seen a beta version :D you’re right on it.

  19. I’ve just had a quick scan of the comments, but has anyone asked about rules and penalties?

    Such as the second video with Raikkonen going over the top of the car, would you get penalised in any way?

  20. I Saw you Keith :P besides the pods ,filming … did you have a good night ??

    1. Yeah you had to move quick to get on the machines though!

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