Vote for the best F1 racing game series

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F1 2011 by Codemasters

F1 2011 by Codemasters

When asked to name the best F1 racing game of all time, F1 Fanatics nominated titles spanning 20 years of gaming.

But which was the best of all time?

Take a look at the most popular picks below and vote for your favourite.

Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix series


Formula One Grand Prix (aka World Circuit) (PC, Amiga, Atari)
Grand Prix 2 (PC)
Grand Prix 3 and GP3-2000 (PC)
Grand Prix 4 (PC)

It’s hard to exaggerate how influential Geoff Crammond’s original 1991 Formula One Grand Prix series was on later F1 racing games. And, indeed, F1 game designers, who still refer back to the Grand Prix series as one of the finest example of F1 video games.

It was a somewhat idiosyncratic creation with an unusual physics engine and turn-based multiplayer system. But what was most endearing about the Grand Prix series was its sense of liberty – an aspect which feels refreshing if you fire up GP4 after spending some time in the more restrictive world of modern F1 games.

Here was a game you could treat as you please: as an easy arcade thrash with all the driving assists on, as a tricky simulation taking on a two-hour race at Monaco in the rain, or indulging in the mindless fun of 400mph closing speed crashes that split your car in two.

Surely the greatest sign of its lasting popularity it that people continue to play it and apply lovingly-detailed modifications almost a full decade since the last game was released.

And the intro music for the original game was The Chain. What more could you ask for?

It is just so much fun and so far, the most accurate F1 game I?ve ever played.

The physics seem to be unparalleled and the artificial intelligence actually provided close and exciting racing without being erratic and completely unpredictable (unlike the Codemasters games). With all of the assists off and the AI turned up to the max, it?s nail-biting stuff.

The thing I like about it is that if you make a single mistake and do something as simple as dropping a wheel on the grass, it?s the end of your race. It?s the only F1 game I?ve played where mistakes are correctly punished and the grass has the correct level of adhesion (basically none!). If you?ve not played it, you?re missing out.

Easily the best F1 game ever, in my opinion.

Formula One series – Bizarre Creations


Formula 1 (PlayStation, PC)
Formula 1 97 (aka Formula 1 Championship Edition) (PlayStation, PC)

Bizarre Creations only produced two Formula 1 games but the second of these – Formula 1 97 for the first-generation PlayStation – is surely the epitome of arcade-style console racing games.

Its colourful graphics and convincing impressions of the cars and tracks dazzled gamers. The pick-and-up-play simplicity it offered won it many admirers.

And the addition of commentary from Murray Walker and Martin Brundle – ITV’s F1 commentary duo at the time – cranked up the fun factor to 11.

Sure there have been plenty of F1 games released since with better graphics, physics, more immersive season modes.

But for whatever reason, none of these even come close to the sheer fun of playing Formula 1 97. So much so that it still gets a whirl in my PS3.

Grand Prix Legends

Grand Prix Legends (PC)

The awesome attention to detail in Grand Prix Legends’ depiction of the 1967 Formula 1 season was simply stunning, and more than made up for the fact that the game was excruciatingly difficult.

It was one of the first games to feature the full Nurburgring Nordschleife, and the Green Hell has never looked more fearsome than it has from the cockpit of a Lotus 49.

Grand Prix Legends was not a great commercial success for Papyrus, who had previously made IndyCar racing titles. But it has a hardcore following among racing simulator buffs and fans of historic racing in particular. Almost 15 years after it went on sale, the Grand Prix Legends community is still going strong.

Astonishingly, they have even modelled the 72km Targa Florio sports car track for it. And don’t miss this video of a true Grand Prix legend – Jackie Stewart – watching and talking about the game.

Not only it represents one of the golden eras of Formula 1, but it was so advanced when it was released. The graphics were pretty, the cars were astonishing, the sounds were epic, and the feel of the thing: on a class of its own.

Even nowadays it feels modern, nothing like the games of today. As if no one ever cared to design a simulator that accurate, and one has to remember Grand Prix Legends was released when PlayStation 1 was still the way to go for most gamers.

It?s without a shadow of doubt, the best F1 game I?ve ever played.
Fer no.65

F-1 World Grand Prix


F-1 World Grand Prix (Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Dreamcast, others)
F-1 World Grand Prix 2 (Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, others)

F-1 World Grand Prix, which first appeared on the Nintendo 64, is about as far from Grand Prix Legends as it’s possible to get.

But this short-lived series benefitted from some well thought-out and original ideas and is fondly remembered by many of those who played it first time around.

Among the most popular was the series of challenges that invited you to recreate famous moments from the 1997 season – such as Damon Hill almost winning the Hungarian Grand Prix in his Arrows.

F-1 World Grand Prix was one of my personal favourites. It was a genuine, tough and satisfying sim on a console which didn?t do racers that well.

Formula One series – Psygnosis/Studio 33/SCEE


Formula One 99 (Playstation)
Formula One Arcade (PlayStation)
Formula One 2000 (PlayStation)
Formula One 2001 (PlayStation 2)
Formula One 2002 (PlayStation 2)
Formula One 2003 (PlayStation 2)
Formula One 04 (PlayStation 2)
Formula One 05 (PlayStation 2)
Formula One 06 (PlayStation 2)
Formula One Championship Edition (PlayStation 3)

After the departure of Bizarre Creations, and following an unloved 1998 game produced by Visual Science, the Formula 1 series for PlayStation passed into the hands of Psygnosis, which later became SCE Studio Liverpool. Their series of F1 games endured largely because Sony eventually obtained an exclusive licence – bad news for F1 fans without a PlayStation.

Although they stood accused of churning out games that were little changed beyond annual updates to the cars, drivers and tracks, they did boast some popular features such as unlock-able bonus circuits.

Early PS2 titles were notable for including DVD season reviews that were far better quality than the commercially-available video tapes. There were also versions of some of the games for hand held consoles.

F1 06 on the PS2 is in my opinion pretty underrated?? it has pretty good gameplay and a very clinical feel to it, which I always appreciate.

EA Sports F1 games


F1 2000 (Playstation, PC)
F1 Championship Season 2000 (PlayStation 2, PC, others)
F1 2001 (Playstation 2, Xbox, PC)
F1 2002 (Playstation 2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, others)
F1 Challenge ?99-?02 (aka F1 Career Challenge) (Playstation 2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, others)

EA Sports’ series of F1 games is best remembered for its final instalment, which spanned four seasons from 1999 to 2002.

This proved a major hit with game modifiers, and has proved a popular platform for expansion. Unofficial packs have been produced for dozens of different seasons.

I enjoyed [F1 Challenge ?99-?02]: the graphics were quite realistic and the features were many.

You could drive the car in the pit lane; you could jump the start; you could lose a wheel and continue; you had all the sessions of a Grand Prix, a grid walk-through, mechanical failures, aggressive AIs (if you had a certain difficulty level ?ǣ admittedly, when you were alongside, they dived out of your way), AIs crashing, tyres wore out, fuel decreased, your speed increased as your fuel reduced and your traction decreased as your tyres wore out.


rFactor (PC)

rFactor was among the first of the modern generation of racing games where much of the content is community-created.

There is plenty in the way of modern cars and tracks but one pack created by users which stands out is the superb 1979 season.

Being free of commercial restrictions, you can do pretty much as you please with it. So if you want to drive a 1979 Ligier JS11 on a combination of the modern Monza F1 track plus the old oval – you can (see video).

With rFactor you can pretty much race any season of F1 you can think of and has great physics to match with great sounds and fairly good graphics as well

Codemasters’ F1 2010 and F1 2011


F1 2010 (Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
F1 2011 (Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC, others)

F1 2011, the latest F1 game from Codemasters, brings the official series bang up-to-date with modern features such as DRS, KERS and even the appearance of the safety car.

Taking advantage of the capabilities of today’s hardware and exploiting the benefits of the FOM licence including access data supplied by the teams, virtual F1 has never looked better than in the latest title.

It’s hugely popular among F1 gamers online – that much is clear from the number of threads given over to it in the forum. The latest edition permits up to 16 people to race simultaneously.

F1 2010 and F1 2011 are the games I?ve enjoyed the most. They are the games which I?ve been the most engaging for me.

The thrill of taking tenths of your previous laps (yes, I?m sad) was just great and something that wasn?t as enjoyable in past F1 games. The Collantine Cup has also vastly increased my interest in the game.

I?d say F1 2011 is the best I?ve played simply because it has a bit more than F1 2010. However there are still many small problems which stop the game from being perfect.

Vote for the best F1 racing game series ever

Which of these is your favourite F1 game or Formula 1 series? Cast your vote below and explain your choice and tell us which of them you’ve played in the comments.

Which is the best F1 racing game / game series?

  • Geoff Crammond?s Grand Prix series (25%)
  • Formula One series ?ǣ Bizarre Creations (5%)
  • Grand Prix Legends (6%)
  • F-1 World Grand Prix (3%)
  • Formula One series ?ǣ Psygnosis/SCEE (6%)
  • EA Sports F1 games (8%)
  • rFactor (9%)
  • Codemasters? F1 2010 and F1 2011 (38%)

Total Voters: 508

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“But what about…?”

Where’s iRacing? What about Grand Prix Manager 2? How could you forget Super Monaco GP?

If your favourite F1 game is not listed above either it didn’t get nominated or it wasn’t popular enough.

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190 comments on Vote for the best F1 racing game series

  1. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 21st February 2012, 14:05

    I’d also like to make an addition. You say Codemaster’s F1 games are F1 ’10 and ’11, but everyone forgets about F1 ’09..

    Now, it might have only been on the Wii/PSP, not had online capabilities, and not had much else in terms of what F1 ’05 had on the PS2, but I still have it, and thoroughly enjoy racing on it from time to time (despite having now got F1 2011 on the PC), and it is still a Codemasters game, it was their first F1 game in the series, and it doesn’t seem to get a single mention anywhere..

  2. It`s got to be Geoff said on 21st February 2012, 17:50

    After reading the posts I notice a few saying `never played GP by Geoff, whats the deal`, well in a nut shell GP series is a sim, the rest are games.
    After dusting off GP3 an browsing the 174 page booklet that comes with it, with everything from what front/rear brake balance does to looking at data logged laps with respect to throttle/wheel spin/ride height/suspension travel, this sim is just awsome in its depth. I remember doing quali laps around silverstone an racing into the pits to check the cross secitional temperatures of the tires to fine tune the camber of the wheels.
    But if the GP series was good then Grand Prix Legends was, well a Legend. It is, an will probably be the most concentrating a racing game/sim :-) you will ever play, once you get past the `dont change gear while throttling` or it will drop a bag of spanners on the track ( the car had a clutch but pedals dont ) you will find a car the almost steers on will power, I have never known a sim to portray the feeling of driving like it. Back to the modern era, have played most of the selection nominated but you always get that`Its good but…..` flashback to beating Mansells lap record at Mexico on keyboard on GP1, many many hours but I remember like yesterday………( Mansell 1:16.788 )

  3. It`s got to be Geoff said on 21st February 2012, 18:11

    Sorry to double post, but if GPL an GP are combined it will probably beat the bug fest from codemasters ;]

  4. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 22nd February 2012, 8:58

    i voted geoff crammond series. the number of days spent playing gp2 tells me how playable it was.

    i really enjoy r-factor but mainly use it with GT / LM cars.
    out of the box, it isn’t an F1 game due to the lack of cars and tracks included. you need the various community mods to get it up to speed, so for that very reason it comes 2nd to geoff c. that said, the depth added to r-factor by the mods allows you to ‘drive’ a vast array of circuits, including the historical variations, and a huge variety of f1 cars past to present (the 80’s turbo ones have to be tried….monsters!), so if i hadn’t started with GP2, then r-factor (modded) would be my #1

  5. coefficient (@coefficient) said on 22nd February 2012, 8:59

    As Beyonce would say:

    “All the simulators, All the simulators wo oh oh”

    Or am I getting my wires crossed?

  6. scoobiesnoop (@scoobiesnoop) said on 22nd February 2012, 16:48

    I’ve played a few of the short list but the two top votes so far are what I’m accustomed to. I played the bizarre creations games and they were awesome for the time. Geoff crampons grand pix series was excellent too, I had gp3 and 4, paying gp4 mostly. It had so many editing tools that you could have a bang up to date game whatever season it was. But Codemasters formula one games have blown everything else clean out of the water. Ok so on consoles you can’t edit but frankly I don’t care. F1 2010 was near perfection for me, save the fuel issues but f1 2011 really upped its game. There’s still room for improvement of course but for a truly emersive game tat can be both sim or arcade and every shade inbetween with countless options and great realism, for me there is no competition! However I was surprised Ayrton Sennas super Monaco GP 3 wasn’t included. Surely a great?

  7. scoobiesnoop (@scoobiesnoop) said on 22nd February 2012, 16:50

    *crammonds – predictive text on my iPad Evans my iFingers just don’t tel it right ;)

  8. Leggacy said on 23rd February 2012, 17:00

    I’m quite disappointed to see Rfactor getting so few votes while the codemasters F1 2010 & 2011 getting so many. I had high hopes of the recent codemasters series, Grid was brilliant but the F1 games seem to be lacking. I find it really annoying that even on a multi turn wheel you are restricted to 90 degrees of lock in either direction, you usually see F1 drivers using around 180 in the tight turns. The latest of the two is worse than the first (on PS3) low frame rate, poor graphics, lack of updates and its not even 1080p. these games are clearly rushed. people complained about the length of time we had to wait for GT5 but its soooo much better, more polished and updated regularly. i wish the FIA would give the franchise to polyphony we might have to wait a while but at least it’d be worth buying. I guess Rfactor suffers from being a real sim but thats what i want. Rfactor and its derivatives, GT legends, GTR, GTR2 are all fine games if a little dated now.

    a while back me and a few mates visited the race centre near southampton, they have 10 machines running Rfactor on projectors with logitech momo steering wheels. its great! you notice exactly whats missing from the codemaster games…. Realism. on the first F1 race we did practically everyone span off the grid, which is what would happen if you burry the throttle from stopped, something that doesn’t happen in the codemaster games. The graphics aren’t as good as recent games but it is getting a bit old now Heres a link to a vid i took when we were driving formula fords, forgot to film the F1 cars. forgive my shaky camera work.

    Ironically the track, Brands Hatch, is lifted from codemasters TOCA race driver 3!

    Rfactor2 comes out soon, go and check youtube for some vids. looks really good, shame it’ll be PC only.

  9. scratt (@scratt) said on 5th April 2012, 12:10

    Although this is irrelevant for this poll, F1 2011 on the PS VITA is actually the most fun I have had with an F1 game to date…. and I’ve played them all.

    This is despite having a full motion seat setup at home.

    The PS VITA port is not particularly awesome, and has issues, but something about the easy accessibility and quick “scenario” challenges, as well as the work they’ve done to make it playable with the VITA’s controls makes it a blast, and just realistic enough for me as an F1 fan to really enjoy.

    The cars handle great. I think that is part of what they got accidentally right. It is far more forgiving than the console versions, but not so much that you feel that you are playing an arcade game.

  10. Trido (@trido) said on 6th April 2012, 10:59

    I don’t know how anyone votes for the Codemasters games. They are fun, but nothing compared to the excellent games of old. Too many kids who get wooed by pretty graphics.

  11. ANDREW (@johnson102) said on 7th April 2012, 15:35

    I first experienced F1 games via a Grand Prix 2 demo. Just a 3 lap race at Monza was all it offered, yet it gave me hours of gameplay.
    I ended up buying the game and following the series, even enjoying being ‘John Newhouse’ as I set-up my car and continued being awesome.
    The only downside was the fact it was a few seasons behind the current season at the time of launch and the circuits it made me hate because I just couldn’t make it work.

  12. Giuseppe (@giuseppe) said on 9th April 2012, 18:14

    Grand Prix Legends, got my vote. I’d add the old Grand Prix series and the wonderful rFactor mod featuring the 1979 F1 Championship.

    F1 2010 and F1 2011 may be nice, shiny and modern, but there’s no “magic” there for me.

  13. GongTong (@gongtong) said on 9th April 2012, 18:28

    I can’t beleive Codemasters have won this. The handling is hilarious.

    To each their own I guess.

  14. rFactor. Anything is possible.

  15. King Six (@kingsix) said on 12th April 2012, 15:17

    F1:CE for me. They had classic cars whilst also being a modern F1 game. Also the sounds were better and they used official FOM graphics.

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