“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: ?σΤιΌ?τF1 2010?σΤιΌ?? 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. Looks fantastic.

    What would finish it off nicely is proper FOM TV overlays for position, rev counter, lap number etc. The ones on display here look too arcady, using the official FOM style overlays would give more of a feeling of being in an F1 race.

    That said, please please please don’t put Leggard commentary in there otherwise I’m not going anywhere near it :-) If I hear the words, ‘The green ring means it’s the softer compound’ one more time I’m gong to kill myself.

    1. Jesus i forgot about him. maybe there will be a setting called “Legard Commentary”???? The volume on that will go right down. yep.

  2. Keith, do you happen to have played the Ferrari F1 car in Gran Turismo 5 prologue and can shed any light on how the controls compare? I quite like the degree of realism they’ve gone for in GT5. Hard enough to keep it interesting, but easy to play semi-sober with game controllers.

    Also, any word on split screen gameplay? That was the one thing that really ****** me off about GRID. I only play racing games split screen at a friend’s place.

    Cool article, looking forward to the game!

    1. Someone did ask about that but afraid the news is there’s no split screen multiplayer.

  3. Do you know how the online lobbies are going to be structured?

    Is it fully customisable, in that the host can select any lap count, and realism settings and aids etc…

    The vids look good, the only annoying bit is what everyone has mentioned, the HUD graphics. Really arcade looking. I’m sure i’ll get over it though.

    For those who are asking about the single player seasons… I assume it will be the same as most other games, as in once season 1 ends, a new season begins. I also assume that drivers will move around to other teams also, and not just stay stationary.

  4. Ohhh, one last comment.

    I assume by the comments about realism, the second video is just a cosmetic damage setting, like the one in Forza.

  5. There are some unexpected features in that description that I like, especially the in-team dynamics and the notion that peculiar driving styles actually do affect the car – which was, for example, one thing among all its simulative elements GP4 never modeled.

  6. Jarred Walmsley
    18th March 2010, 23:15

    Just wondering seeing as KERS is not actually banned this year but just not being used due to a gentlemen agreement will KERS be available to use in the game?

  7. Horrible!! Well…its awesome, but it havent safety car, formation lap, and the worst is not extreme simulation!!! -10 point

  8. The only thing that I’m upset about is we can’t play as Kimi Raikkonen when this game comes out.

    Since they seem to have all the 2009 tracks/cars/drivers done and finished, they should add the 2009 season as paid DLC after the games release. I’d buy the DLC in a heart beat, even if it’s $30 or something. :P

  9. do the other drivers switch teams through out your career?

  10. I had another thought and this one is more on the trivial end, but no less irritating. But I hope during replay mode (if it has it) that they use more realistic camera positions/movements. It drives me crazy during games like Forza and Gran Turismo how the camera will be flying along through the air alongside the car. It makes it look cheesy as hell and sometimes very hard to get a look at what’s going on. Which is usually why I watch a replay: to see what happened from outside the car. Fixed cameras ala television placements (except for the rare crane shots, I suppose).

  11. There’s one thing I want it to change from the old games.In the old games the career only lasted five seasons and you couldn’t do a thing about it.In this game,I want the career length changed so you can go on as long as you want.
    Also the simulation on old games weren’t great.I crashed a Monaco once and Albers ended up winning the Grand Prix.
    But I hate engine failures in it.Once I was playing F1 06 and I retired in Turkey,China,Japan and Brazil i.e 3 of the last 4 races in the season as I was challenging for the title.

  12. I’m afraid that during the season we may be wishing for a few real safety cars, praying for rain, and that by September this game will be the the thing we’re most looking forward to. It’s gonna be a strange feeling for me if Alonzo is leading a race in the red car and I’m sort of wishing that something would shake it up a little. :)

  13. sorry about off-topic, but of course we can always watch this again (and again and again)

    1. Miles Plumley
      22nd March 2010, 13:42

      amazing. thanks for reminding me =)

  14. I’m already drooling…. Can’t wait – any betas around?!?!

  15. rikthepacman
    21st March 2010, 12:55

    Any news on team radio during the races (such as updates on track positions, team mate news and weather updates)?????

    Also will it be similar to the look we get on the TV with team radio??


    1. rikthepacman
      21st March 2010, 12:57

      Rob Smedley camio role “felippe baby, keep cool!”

  16. First of all… I’m a sim-hardcore fan and those vids are looking great but we simply can’t judge cuz its in arcade-mode.

    The HUD graphics are really arcade looking, and I will for sure turn them off.

    I sure hope Damage will look as good as GRID did. When you crash and hit the tyres, they should expolde like crazy – just like they did in GRID.

    Hope the game is awesome, but I wont expect too much…

    Benjamin, from Denmark!

  17. Looks good but I’ve never played these sorts of games before so will wait for the release and reviews…

  18. Grand job you lucky devil. Safety car or no, I’m looking forward to a new F1 toy – sorry ‘simulator’ to, um… allow a better understanding of the tracks. Yep – that’s the one.

    Like several of the masses here, I loved the Geoff Crammond stuff – his second effort was my first much loved racing game. GP4 was brilliant and carried on with the season updates until, well it, or perhaps I, just got a bit tired. Was hugely disappointed with some other offering though. Never got into Legends. Super Monaco Grand Prix just never ‘felt’ right. F1CE on the PS3 was lovely, but have done it to death – as I did them all. Best of the rest was LeMans 24heures for me – with that awesome Dandy Warhols theme song.

    New game looks lovely, just hope they made it tough enough for the sad hard core racers as well. Forza Codemasters! Give us another TOCA2, um… with F1 cars of course.

    nb. If I eat pizza – I generally make it myself. I hate cans of soda. I am not a pasty chubster.

    1. Actually – and I know it’s really naff to reply to your own posts, but would love to know what happened to Mr Crammond – would make a brilliant article Keith…

      Just a thought.

  19. No Safety Car, no formation lap, no mechanical failure? Just advanced graphics… Hmm..
    If there’s no mechanical failures, the race is gonna be so unrealistic!

    And now a rewind feature? Oh ffs, that’s a lame idea, F1 is meant to be tough, if you make a mistake you pay for it. Can’t believe they’d have such a feature on it. And no mechnical failures? That sounds even more pointless.

    Starting to look a bit brighter now, this is from the Codies forum, and this is what the
    F1 2010 Chief Games Designer had to say:


    Without giving everything away at this stage, your engine can degrade massively. The eight engine rule is in-game for a reason. The car can overheat, your tyres can blister, you can suffer punctures, you can play with the performance of the engine whilst driving around to prolong its life, you can suffer in dirty air, the state of bodywork damage can impact on aero performance…

    Not to mention the fact we’re still working on many little things. Sometimes not too much is said (yes, even at a reveal event) because items are in development. The AI cars can suffer failures too.

    What we do not have, and I personally dislike, is random failure. I don’t want to drive 64/65 laps and have a random failure that I cannot do anything about remove me from the race. I want, as a player, to know I can do something about a problem.

  20. Has anyone played Superstars V8 Racing on the PS3.

    I thought I was buying V8 Supercars, with Jamie Whincup etc. etc., so I was a bit annoyed with myself when I saw what I actually had bought.

    I put it on to play anyway, and it is brilliant. There are no big name drivers to speak of, Gianni Morbidelli Ex F1 driver is the only one, but the cars feel and drive great, the tracks look brilliant (Portimao looks class!). It’s quite a challenge too, although maybe thats because I’m just not very good :P

    I’d recommend it though, it might keep some of you ticking over until F1 2010 comes out.
    Just a suggestion….

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