F1 2011 by Codemasters

F1 2011 – Codemasters’ F1 sequel played

F1 video gamePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

F1 2011 by Codemasters
F1 2011 by Codemasters

Codemasters’ first F1 game, F1 2010, enjoyed huge sales and won a BAFTA award.

Doubtless part of that success was motivated by the lack of an official F1 game for four years. But it’s clear from the activity on the F1 Fanatic Forum players haven’t put the game down months after it came out.

But what can Codemasters do to entice people to buy the sequel, due out in September? I went to a preview event on Wednesday to find out and try the latest version of the game.

The 2011 update

Naturally, the game boasts updated content to reflect the 2011 season.

That means a new track to play with in the shape of India. As last year with South Korea, the developers have had to model the game based on expectations of how the Buddh International Circuit will look, as the game will come out before the inaugural Indian Grand Prix takes place.

The German Grand Prix sees the Hockenheimring swapped for the Nurburgring, and of course there’s no longer a Bahrain Grand Prix.

The teams and drivers are updated – those keeping score in the ‘Lotus vs Lotus’ war will note Renault and Lotus are referred to as “Lotus Renault GP” and “Team Lotus” respectively.

As last year, the data is based on the start of the season. So the McLarens sport their distinctively bright early-season rear floor, and don’t expect appearances from Pedro de la Rosa or Daniel Ricciardo.


F1 2011 by Codemasters
F1 2011 by Codemasters

The new rules for 2011 have been faithfully recreated too. You get limited KERS boosts and DRS use is also true to life: it’s unavailable in the first two laps of the race and only available for use when you’re close enough to another car.

However it’s never been as difficult to overtake in an F1 game as it is in real life, and while playing I seldom had the opportunity to use DRS in a race situation.

Lee Mather, chief car handling designer, said the DRS has been modelled closely on real life, including the ‘forbidden zone’ in the tunnel at Monaco:

“It’s authentic, we do it correctly. There’s a DRS activation zones, we have them marked one the circuit. In some instances we have boards at the side of the circuit as they do on certain tracks. We do it exactly as it is.

“For the circuits that haven’t been announced we make a very educated guess.”

“Things like KERS and DRS are incredible for a racing game because they lend themselves towards a game incredibly well,” he added.


F1 2011 by Codemasters
F1 2011 by Codemasters

The developers are keen to stress that the game is more than just an update of the content from F1 2010. One of the main areas they’re focussed on this year is multiplayer.

The addition of an offline multiplayer mode, where two players can race each other on one console with a split screen, will surely please the many people who asked for the feature last year.

Online players can now race a full grid of 24 cars of which up to 16 can be player-controlled, the rest run by the computer.

But the most interesting and original aspect of the multiplayer mode is the new co-operative championship, where two people can play through the game together. This should add much greater depth to the experience than the usual online crash-fests.

What’s in, what’s out

F1 2011 by Codemasters
F1 2011 by Codemasters

At Wednesday’s press event the developers faced the usual barrage of questions about what’s in and what’s not in the game.

Those hoping for the introduction of the safety car are to be disappointed. It’s clear from talking to the developers they feel players would only enjoy following the safety car briefly before getting tired of it and choosing to skip the interruption.

Mather told me: “The safety car is one of those things we’ve been asked about a lot.”

“If we can get a safety car in the game which we feel enhances the experience, we’ll have the safety car in the game. If we can’t, if it takes away from the enjoyment of the game, then we won’t have a safety car.”

Red-flag scenarios are also not modelled, and nor is there a pre-race formation lap. There won’t be any download-able content for the game either.

However the team have addressed some of the criticisms of the previous game, starting with the use of sector times during qualifying laps for that authentic, high-pressure hot-lap experience.

Seeing the whole race

In F1 2010, the inability for players to scroll through rival cars in replay mode to see how their race was progressing led to speculation that the races were being ‘faked’.

This feature will not be in F1 2011 either. Mather said: “You still can’t scroll between the cars, but you can see their progress. The ability to swap between the cars is still, technically, very difficult to do.”

However the developers say they understand the complaint and have made other changes to allow players to better appreciate the race going on around them:

“It’s something we’ve given a lot of consideration because we felt exactly the same way about it,” says Mather.

“Obviously in Formula 1 you can be out on your own, completely in the lead, it’s your race to win. But there’s somebody behind on a different strategy and in the end he bumps you down to third or fourth.

“There’s a couple of things we’ve added to help that. The race engineer is now present in online races, so he will be able to update you. Let’s say for example you’re doing good pace, the engineer will come on and say your race pace is good so you’ll know you don’t have to push any harder, and you’ll know that when the pit stops and everything play out you’ll be in a strong final position.

“We’ve also added additional element to the on-screen display. Previously you had a spot that showed you temperatures and damage. There’s now an additional one which shows you an idea of how much fuel you’ve got beyond and below the optimal points, and also the projected rejoining position should you pit.”

He adds they didn’t include a list of positions for all drivers because of a lack of screen space. However, players can now pause the game and access data on the drivers positions, pit stops and major events that have happened during the race.


F1 2011 by Codemasters
F1 2011 by Codemasters

The switch to Pirelli tyres has meant significant changes to how the cars handle.

This opens up the opportunity for more varied tyre strategies, as Mather explains: “We’ve run quite a lot of long races while testing the tyre durations out.

“We’ve finished within a second of each other after starting on different compounds. Steve [Hood, chief game designer] won a race at Spa running on a one-stop strategy while I ran two or three. He just wanted to try it out to see if it was possible. At one point in the race he was significantly slower than we were, we were taking seconds out of him on every lap.”

I took the opportunity to get a first-hand feel of how the cars handle in F1 2011. They feel more challenging to drive – twitchier, and more likely to catch you out if you get too greedy with the throttle on corner exit. Unless you’ve got all the driver aids switched on, of course.

The variation in their performance between different types of tyre compound is much more noticeable – unfortunately I didn’t have time to get much of a feel for how long the tyres last.

Some of the improvements made to the handling are left over from developments that were planned for F1 2010 but never made it, as Mather explains:

“We were working on an improved suspension model. Unfortunately due to some other technical difficulties we couldn’t get it fully implemented.”

They settled on a compromise solution for the first game: “It was very good, but it wasn’t quite where we could get to.”

The new model is implemented in F1 2011: “It makes a big difference to the feel of the cars. It allowed us to start with a clean sheet on cars set-ups.

“It gives the feeling of a car that’s in contact with the track surface. That was one of the biggest things we really wanted to gain – the feel.”


F1 2011 by Codemasters
F1 2011 by Codemasters

Aside from the inevitable updates, the tracks have been enhanced with further details.

This seemed to have a consequence for frame rates in the game, which appeared to stutter when many cars were visible at once, but I’ll reserve judgement on that until I’ve played the finished version.

The garages and paddock have been the focus of considerable work and can now be viewed in much greater detail than before.

The level of detail extends to the cars, where players will now see differences between the steering wheels authentically replicated. This is especially important, as your virtual drivers’ hands will be busy flicking the gear lever and jabbing the KERS and DRS buttons.

We were shown side-by-side comparisons of the new and old versions of the game, which demonstrated the finer details very well. Unfortunately they cannot be shared here because Formula One Management have not signed off the graphics used for public release.

The finished product

It was clear from the mixed public reaction to last year’s game that many have strong opinions about what features should be included. Mather explains: “The way we have to look at it is we want to take as much as we can from Formula 1 and make the game as close as we can to that.

“But not at the penalty of taking away the enjoyment of playing it.

Codemasters had dozens of machines running the latest build of F1 2011, described as a “beta” version which still had “two months’ polishing” left to do.

From the half-dozen chances I had to play it’s clear there is plenty of work to be done on elements such as crash damage, graphical glitches and bug fixes – the latter a significant source of frustration for early buyers of the first game.

F1 2011 will be released on September 23rd for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Handheld console versions will appear later. F1 Fanatic will have a full review of the version for major consoles.

Buy / pre-order F1 2011 for Sony PlayStation 3
Buy / pre-order F1 2011 for Microsoft Xbox 360

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136 comments on “F1 2011 – Codemasters’ F1 sequel played”

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  1. Let’s hope the AI is half decent this time. Loads of overtake chances that aren’t taken because the AI seems to stick rigidly to the racing line.

  2. Benson Mutton
    8th July 2011, 11:41

    Marvelous. I havent stopped playing this since i got it.
    Lets hope all the “glitches” will be sorted for this one.

  3. Ahh yes! I was going to ask when more was going to surface about this, and when you think about it, September 23rd really isn’t far away.

  4. I would also like random incidents. So in a session your car has a problem and you can’t leave the pit until the very last moment, or you have to sit it all out. And mechanical problems in the race, not engine failure and you are out, but a loss of power, or a sudden front wing failure, loss of third gear, or stuck in gear etc. So you can continue, while making it a lot harder to remain position. And then let you choose what the design team builds on your car, if they focus on speed in the race, speed in qualifying, driveability or reliability.

    1. Harry Palmer
      8th July 2011, 12:08

      The devs said in an interview on insidesimracing recently that there will be mechanical failures…

  5. box this lap
    8th July 2011, 13:39

    Just like someone here said before. If you tell me this is the game F1 2010 with the car skins from this season I believe you.

    Codemasters are using the same old dusty EGO Engine once again, Money milk cows galore.

    I would be better if the build one game and upgrade it with DLC’s troughout the season. I bet the Lotus cars don’t have the Caterham logo’s in the game for instance…

    1. This is standard practice in the games industry particularly as the whole point of a modular game engine is so that it can be reused. Just like car manufacturers make many cars based on the same chasis.

      However just because the engine is the same does not mean the game is the same, the engine is only part of the code, after all you would hardly say F1 2010 and Dirt 3 are the same game would you?

      Also as Dirt 3 is one of the best looking race games on the consoles I would not really say the EGO engine is old and dusty, after all it is only a year old…

      1. box this lap
        8th July 2011, 16:36

        I know the engine is a part of the game. There are even first person games build on the EGO engine. The first game made with the EGO engine (Colin McRea Dirt) was released back in 2007. Ok this runs on EGO 2.0 en DiRT on EGO 1.0 but it’s nearly the same to me.

        And ok DiRT 3 looks good on the consoles but GT5 looks better and they both were the same price when they were released, that is my problem. I also think that F1 2011 is delaying a possible Race Driver GRID 2 release, that’s the reason why I don’t like F1 2011 that much.

        In my opinion Codemasters thought:

        “Here you have F1 2011 because the season is underway and we need to release this now, only 10 of the 20 ideas we had for this game made it in F1 2011. F1 2012 is also released next year so we have to hurry!”

        1. But GT5 is the same old boring crap while Dirt3 is fun and enjoyable…

          Plus ego 1.0 and 1.5 may be the same to you but they are probably very different to the coders and game designers!

          Games are often released on a schedule determined by licence holders and publishers so it is not always the developers fault for a rushed release. However look at GT5 took years and years along with delay on top of delay and it is still dull!

    2. You need to do some more research on f1 2011 before moaning about it. From what ive read so far its a completely new experiance altogether, esspecially the handling physics. As for the Catherham logo? Who cares, i mean is that your main worry? Will this really alter your enjoyment of the game when hurtling around at 180mph??

      1. box this lap
        8th July 2011, 16:45

        From what ive read so far its a completely new experience* altogether, especially* the handling physics.

        That’s just standard cheap marketing talk. Did you play the game to know if they are right?

        As for the Caterham logo, yes it does alter my enjoyment. for instance if Alonso is unable to race in Abu Dhabi this year, then I’m still racing with Alonso in Abu Dhabi in the game. I don’t like that, but this is the main problem with this games. That the reason I rather spend my money on a complete new gaming experience then on a F1 2010 2.0 experience.

        1. Very strange, your expecting to much from a game. After all it is still only a game and not real life. I couldnt care less if i was still racing with Alonso at Abu Dhabi even if he wasnt racing in real life as im more intersted in the racing aspect of the game while behind the wheel. But thats just me.

          I read a review from some bloke that was at the westfield event. I dont think it was a biased view as he didnt work for codemaster. He gave it plenty of praise and stated it was a lot better in more ways than 1 over the 2010 game.

  6. Any chance of it coming out on the new Wii U?? I’m waiting for a more modern F1 game than F1 ’09, which seems eons ago..

    1. Well as the Wii U does not even have a solid release date and it is 2012 at the earliest, I doubt F1 2011 will be appearing on it. Anyway what on earth are you wanting to play anything on the Wii other than Donkey Kong Country Returns for!

  7. I’ll be interested to see really if KERS and DRS adds anything. It seems like it will be just an annoyance. What buttons are you going to use on the controller or wheel anyway? All are taken now and I don’t even have a button remaining to “look right” into my mirrors.

    1. You use one of the control sticks to look around; not buttons.

    2. I found I got used to KERS very quickly. DRS, as I said, I had little chance to use properly.

      I played using a standard Xbox controller and a steering wheel. It was very easy to use them on the Xbox controller. I didn’t like the way the steering wheel was set up but of course that will be user-controllable.

  8. thank you keith.. waiting for this game. :)

  9. ‘The ability to swap between the cars is still, technically, very difficult to do.”’

    why when r factor did which was basically a modified f1 99-03.

  10. Hammer Time
    8th July 2011, 16:56

    Reading through some of the other comments on this article made me laugh: like Cab drivers arguing over which is the optimal route! Anyone would think some of you were Fernando Alonso the way you moan and bleat about the shortcomings of the previous game.

    I loved the F12010 game. I completed it on Xbox. Yes,
    I am shamelessly arcadey. I wouldn’t much care if the liveries are out of date and I won’t miss a safety car. As long as I can race with my mates online, and the unrealistic handling is patched, I will be happy.

    If you think youve got game, add me on Xbox: ‘Mother Goose 07’: see if you can teach me a thing or two! :-)

  11. I loved the last game. My two hopes are that the lolly-pop man is more aggressive, and that you have a better idea of what’s actually going on in the race.

    Due to the 30 seconds or so it often took to be released from the pitts, I always had to change my strategy. I spent alot of the time on the track by myself because I had pitted early. It was impossible to have a pause and think about the gap from me to the rest, and work out whether i needed to push or what.

    You should be able to pause the game and look at everyones lap times, their gaps to you, how many times they’ve pitted, what tyre compound they’re on etc etc.

    Obviously this isn’t very realistic, but in real life the engineer gives all this information, which isn’t really possible in the game.

  12. Keith, can you confirm whether there’s replay save/load function? F1 2010 has the function but it’s very hard to use and troublesome.

    1. also I’m angry becuase they break their promises. I think SC is hard to introduce but why formation lap? it doesn’t make difference in game experience if they make it skip-able. I cannot understand…maybe they don’t know what option means.

    2. No idea, didn’t ask – will have a look when the finished version comes out.

  13. I still play a 2009 version on my “a little slow” computer, it’s made by EA sports. I don’t know if it’s official or not, but the images are good enough, I would say 90% realistic, with shadows, fire and stuff. And that game gives you the possibility to replay the game switching to another car… I love it, but I repeat, I don’t know if that game is official or not, and right now I’m looking forward to getting this year’s EA version

  14. In F1 2010, the inability for players to scroll through rival cars in replay mode to see how their race was progressing led to speculation that the races were being ‘faked’.

    This feature will not be in F1 2011 either. Mather said: “You still can’t scroll between the cars, but you can see their progress. The ability to swap between the cars is still, technically, very difficult to do.”

    However the developers say they understand the complaint and have made other changes to allow players to better appreciate the race going on around them:

    “It’s something we’ve given a lot of consideration because we felt exactly the same way about it,” says Mather.

    “Obviously in Formula 1 you can be out on your own, completely in the lead, it’s your race to win. But there’s somebody behind on a different strategy and in the end he bumps you down to third or fourth.

    Well, there you have it. Fall for it the first time, fair enough, but I don’t know how you could fall for this twice.

    1. I haven’t “fallen for” anything – this isn’t a review of the game because it isn’t out yet, I’m just reporting what he said.

      1. Sorry Keith, bad use of the word ‘you’ as I wasn’t referring to yourself or the site, I was trying to say that in general this issue, which was very obvious in the 2010 version, has clearly not been addressed correctly according to what has been stated by Codemasters in the above, and I don’t see why some people would fall for it again.

        1. You can’t say “it’s clearly not been addressed correctly” unless you’ve played the game. You can’t just *assume* the times are being faked. Give it a chance.

  15. I’m really looking forward to not buying this.

  16. F1 2010 was very poor IMO. And they seem to be repeating the same mistakes in F1 2011. I have better sense of speed, violent crashes bouncing through gravel and the ability to switch between on-board car cameras in replay mode in my EA F1 2002 demo!

  17. When you play career mode i really hope that they make it more realistic in the sense that after you finish the season, and re-sign with the same team that your teams finishing position is reflected in the location of your pit box, and I hope that they change the drivers around from team to team. I highly doubt that Schumaker will still be racing after 3 seasons in career mode.
    Another thing that would be nice is the ability to create and run your own team!
    F1 is the only sports game where you cant take a horrible team and make it better from year to year! it is very fustrating. Look at Red Bull for example. They were a joke a few years ago, and now they win every freaking race! If Codemasters can’t do this kind of stuff then I blame it all on Ecclstone… Let the fans have some fun old timer!

    1. I expect the FOM license does not allow other drivers, teams, or variance in performance. Licenses tend to be very strict these days, and FOM tend not to allow much creative license – which is understandable when they have a brand and subsidiary brands (the teams) to think about.

  18. Really excited about the co-op championship multiplayer element, me and my housemate will have a field day with that!

  19. If you read between the lines, what Lee Mathers is saying, is that F1 2011 isnt really that much different from F1 2010. There isnt anything to really shout about here and i said as much last year.
    Updated graphics, updated handling, updated fixes, all were expected as part of a routine update anyway. But where’s the stuff that people have really wanted? where’s the stuff that people have been crying out for on the forums all over the world? for example:
    safety car
    helmet editor
    warm up lap
    parade lap
    podium celebrations
    more interactive garage and pits?

    NONE of these have been mentioned in any interview i have seen with the developers, all they ever go on about are the updates which they are trying to smokescreen as “not a re-hash”, but im sorry, F1 2011 IS A RE-HASH! and a lot of what they have done here is simply fix the bugs that were in F1 2010.

    For example, the safety car. How many times have we heard (at least 3 years now) that “we dont think it will enhance the gameplay..if it does, we’ll put it in” NO…ffs!! are you not listening Codemasters???? the punters, who YOU are asking to part with a hefty wedge of cash for this, are DEMANDING, the safety car, its in F1, so put it in your game. It doesnt matter if it doesnt enhance the gameplay, you are totally missing the point that simply being behind it in the game, ENHANCES the gameplay, why cant you get this simple point? You lot arent stupid, so please grasp this simple, logical fact and put it in.
    Likewise with the warm up lap/parade lap, the same argument applies, you want us to Be the Driver, Life the Life, well a big part of that is living the environment, driving to the grid, the build up to the race, the parade lap…these are things that F1 drivers do. You are simply being lazy or are taking the moral high-ground by NOT including these in the game. Instead, from what ive seen so far, you have the same old animation of the driver exiting the garage then it fades to the grid…zzzzzzzzzz
    Helmet editor, cant be that difficult to implement, given how much editing can be done in the cars in Forza for years???

    Why doesnt Codemasters listen to their customers? people who want these things? why do individual human beings have to be so bl**dy ignorant and pigheaded, when the masses are asking for something?

    If the safety car isnt in F1 2011, i simply wont part with £40 for this. I am not buying an “Official Video Game” that i pretty much bought last year for a few updates.

  20. What happens to the tyre walls if you crash….can you crash like Perez at monaco????

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