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

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: ?σΤιΌ?τF1 2010?σΤιΌ?? by Codemasters arrives for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in September

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

  1. TheWiseOwl said on 17th March 2010, 22:11

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

    • Patrickl said on 18th March 2010, 21:32

      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.

  2. SoLiD said on 17th March 2010, 22:33

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

  3. Robert McKay said on 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…

  4. Fabian N said on 17th March 2010, 23:05

    this is the game f1 fans have been waiting for

  5. Mike "the bike" Schumacher said on 17th March 2010, 23:07

    Looks brilliant can’t wait :)

  6. Prisoner Monkeys said on 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 …

    • Jarred Walmsley said on 18th March 2010, 4:29

      I think thats Keith! :)

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th March 2010, 8:09

        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.

  7. chucky pancamo said on 17th March 2010, 23:14

    cant freakin wait

  8. Jraybay-HamiltonMclarenfan said on 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.

  9. Travis said on 17th March 2010, 23:26

    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?

  10. Jamie said on 17th March 2010, 23:27

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

  11. Kolgejt said on 17th March 2010, 23:30

    What is that ? That supose to be realistic ? Guy in the second movie lost front wing at first corner then goes 200 mph all the other corners ? There is no realism in this game at all. Another arcade racing games that codies lied about being a simulator.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th March 2010, 1:53

      Kolgetjt, you have to understand that this game isn’t just being developed or die-hard fans like ourselves – it’s being developed to accomodate an audience that encompasses everyone from the casual gamer to the die-hards, and it has to be said: we’re in the minority. If Codemasters went for absolute realism and created a game where you’d drive within a second of the car in front for laps on end without being able to pass, a lot of people would lose interest very quickly. People don’t want to play a racing game where one mistake is going to mean they cannot win.

      Besides, you have no idea as to what difficulty setting that video was set to.

    • ajokay said on 18th March 2010, 9:37

      It’s also only an alpha build… not even into beta yet. There’s still a good 6 months of development left on this game. Early builds always include options to disable various features so that others can be tested. I’m guessing in this case, performance drops due to damage were disabled, simply to let the journos be able to play the game without being hindered by anything.

  12. Nick said on 17th March 2010, 23:33

    Is there any local multiplayer (on the same console? Maybe 2 players with COM for a full grid like F1 2005)

  13. Uncle said on 17th March 2010, 23:35

    If it features random weather ie rain, then they must be serious.

  14. Fabian N said on 17th March 2010, 23:35

    dont think he lost front wing
    was probly playing with damage off

    • Kolgejt said on 17th March 2010, 23:39

      Then look at it again wing fly off and there is a graphic on the right showing front wing red, like its off/damaged

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th March 2010, 23:46

      Yes there was damage on, but I think it was also on the easiest playing setting with all the driving aids on.

      • Kolgejt said on 17th March 2010, 23:48

        Playing settings have nothing to do with realism, you can have all aids on but you can go throu a corner without front wing at 200 mhp. Thats just STUPID

      • themark said on 18th March 2010, 0:10

        If they really want to sell this game as “realistic” they should refrain from showing videos of some yob ploughing through cars, cutting chicanes, going 200+ with no loss of control, and hitting the wall without losing a tire. All the other great work they’ve done will be completely wasted if this is typical gameplay. That’s just GRID with different cars.

        And September is too long, the season will be done already

        • Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th March 2010, 4:21

          Would you rather they release an incomplete game early?

        • SoLiD said on 18th March 2010, 8:58

          themark.. have you played grid???
          Those crashes in that game are incredible and your car does behave accordingly so don’t be worried, they say it’s going to be better than that, and that was highly impressive!

  15. Tombong said on 18th March 2010, 0:03

    Looking from the first video the game featured with 09 cars model. Or is it because it’s a pre aplha build thing??
    Big disappointment for me if the title says 2010 but the cars is outdated (2009).

    • Untitled258 said on 18th March 2010, 0:07

      The new cars haven’t been out for that long, say 6 weeks or so since the end of Jan? Im sure it takes a hell of a long time to accurately model the new cars. They probably wanted to get some news out into the media, about the game, to keep interest up but where unable to finish all the new cars off.

    • Tombong said on 18th March 2010, 0:28

      I’m just plain stupid. I didn’t see the “2009 cars for promotional only, the final game will feature 2010 cars”

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th March 2010, 8:11

      See the third and fourth paragraphs under ‘multiplayer and more’.

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