F1 23 is the official Formula 1 video game from EA Sports. It features a new chapter in the thrilling Braking Point story mode and improved vehicle handling.
The game will include November’s Las Vegas and Qatar circuits, plus three legacy tracks from previous games – France’s Paul Ricard, Shanghai International Circuit and Portimao. It’s out on June 16.
F1 23 is one of the first major racers to feature VR support for those with the requisite hardware. The HTC Vive Pro 2 is a top-tier headset with 5k resolution and 2448×2448 pixels per eye. This translates to a total field of view of about 160 degrees. While expensive, it’s the headset of choice for those serious about sim racing.
Fortunately, there are less expensive options out there as well. The Meta Quest 2, available for PS299 on Amazon right now, works with the game. Unlike the more expensive headsets, the Quest does not require external hardware. It connects to the PC via an included link cable and has onboard storage and an operating system. This makes it easy to set up and use for a few minutes with a VR game.
The game also supports the Oculus Rift, with its higher-performance display. However, it’s unclear if EA Sports will add support for the newer headset, which is currently the best option for high-end VR.
Codemasters has not said whether the next instalment in its F1 series will include PSVR2 support. However, considering PSVR2 sales have been slow and the fact that the company is working on a new Las Vegas Street Circuit and Braking Point story mode, it might not be high on their priority list.
In any case, the latest F1 series games are designed to work with both low and high-end PC gaming configurations. The new instalment may offer RTGI, which would further increase image quality.
In any event, the inclusion of VR support in F1 23 is a welcome one. It enables those who play the game in cockpit view to look around without having the halo that typically blocks part of the race track from their vision. It’s a great way to experience the full race and feel like you are inside a Formula 1 car. While it’s not as immersive as the real thing, it will provide an enjoyable experience for those who can afford the necessary hardware.
F1 fans will be happy to know that this year’s game has new tracks, including November’s Las Vegas Grand Prix and the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Three legacy circuits are also returning to the calendar: France’s Paul Ricard, Shanghai’s Formula 1 Raceway and Portugal’s Portimao.
This year’s new physics engine was tuned by the drivers and is supposed to be more realistic than ever. That should mean increased engine torque, inertia and tire grip that will surely have gamers white-knuckling their wireless controllers or racing wheels.
Hopefully, that’s not the only thing that will have fans grabbing their virtual seat belts – EA Sports has reportedly added an emulation of the driver aids found in real Formula 1 car. This includes a traction control system that can automatically apply the brakes to prevent spins and the ability to control the car’s throttle through corners.
There aren’t any major alterations to the track layouts like we saw last year, but adding the new venues will help add some variety. There are a couple of new corners at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which should spice up some overtaking opportunities and a slight change to Singapore’s final sector, allowing modern F1 cars to get up to speed.
F1 23 will be the first game in the series to feature all the current 21 tracks on the real-world schedule. However, there are a few new ones that will see some time behind the wheel as well. November’s Las Vegas Grand Prix is the biggest new addition to this year’s calendar and was created using photogrammetry data. The same process was used to create Losail, which evokes the feeling of driving through a city.
The series longest-running career mode is back, and it will feature the two new tracks along with the three legacy circuits that aren’t on the 2023 calendar. Fans can earn progression by competing in challenges and completing events on each circuit.
EA Sports has released the first of a series of deep-dive videos ahead of F1 23’s release. Narrated by Sky Sports F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham, the video focuses on some of the title’s headline features. This includes a revamped physics engine that offers “more predictable and authentic vehicle behaviour” for acceleration, braking, and rotation. It’s a big change over previous games and has been improved with feedback from real F1 drivers such as Anthony Davidson. This improvement also comes with what’s being called Precision Drive technology, allowing pad players to tweak car handling with finer control.
Another key change is reworking how cars perform on tyres, bringing it closer to the real-world balance between mechanical and aerodynamic grip. This balance is determined by how much grip the tyres have on the road, the aerodynamic forces being exerted on them, and the car’s weight. The changes also help to give players a better sense of the speed of the car and its handling, which will be important for those playing in VR.
The new F1 23 game also introduces a few more features following community feedback. The first is red flags, which will trigger a full safety car and race restart if triggered on track by a collision. This is a welcome addition after Codemasters’ last F1 game didn’t include them. Another is a 35% race distance option that cuts races from their real-world lengths of up to 78 laps to a shorter number of laps.
Finally, a new tyre model adds more complexity to the game, with the tyre’s lateral force increasing by around a third over what was previously used. This will affect how the car handles and may make some corners more challenging, especially for those driving on the edge of tire wear.
Aside from these major changes, some of the smaller improvements include the ability to upgrade parts of the cars with earned rewards. The upgrades are labelled ‘Tech Points’ and can be gained through various challenges, races, and events. This will increase the car’s performance, making it more competitive in a given discipline.
The game’s physics engine has been tweaked with feedback from real F1 teams and drivers, with more mechanical grip from the tyres and inertia, making for more realistic racing. The same goes for the car handling upgrades, which Codemasters claims will feel crisper on sticks and buttons than ever before. And for pad players, new Precision Drive controller technology will give them a more accurate and responsive experience.
Another gameplay change comes with the return of red flags, which will create more on-the-fly strategy scenarios when you have to stop in multiplayer races. They can be triggered by various reasons, including car debris on the track or AI cars retiring in unsafe positions. And like in the real sport, you can adjust your race plan and fix your car while the race is stopped.
You’ll also be able to drive in a VR cockpit view, allowing you to see around the halo column that normally blocks part of your vision. And if you’re racing with sound enabled, you can use your headset to immerse yourself in the sounds of the engines as they thunder by.
Finally, the video reveals that this year’s game will include three tracks not on this season’s real-world calendar, adding variety for online races. That includes France’s Circuit Paul Ricard, Shanghai International Circuit in China and Algarve International Circuit (Portimao) in Portugal.
The Champions Edition of F1 23 will release on June 16, and those who pre-order can get racing three days earlier on June 13. It’s available to pre-order on PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC through the EA App, Epic Games Store or Steam. The regular version will launch on the same day, with a price point yet to be revealed.
The series’ longest-running career mode is back, and it will feature the two new tracks along with the three legacy circuits that aren’t on the 2023 calendar. Fans can earn progression by competing in challenges and completing events on each of the circuits.