F1 2011: The F1 Fanatic review

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F1 2011 is Codemasters’ second official Formula 1 game for major formats.

The original was generally well-received, but wasn’t without its flaws and some embarrassing bugs.

With the new title Codemasters say they’re offering more than just an updated roster of 19 tracks and tweaked rules.

Safety car

The attention-grabbing addition for 2011 is the safety car. This is part of a revised race environment in which Grands Prix can also be red-flagged if the track is sufficiently blocked.

As in real life, when the safety car comes out you have to queue up behind it and not overtake until it returns to the pits. A rather heavy-handed automatic control system keeps you within the rules while the car is out.

This continues to govern until the Mercedes SLS AMG is back in the pits. When the field is released your opportunities to get a jump on the car in front are rather limited.

Queueing up behind the safety car

Still, it’s good to see Codemasters have responded to the huge numbers of fans who were crying out for this feature.

Those who are not so keen on the idea may be disappointed to learn the safety car period cannot be skipped. However the safety car is only ever out briefly – not as long as in real life – so you’re quickly on your way again.

KERS, DRS and more 2011 tweaks

Among the other new inclusions are the Drag Reduction System and Kinetic Energy Recovery System. Now more than ever it’s worth making sure you’re totally happy with you control system before you dive into a race, because you’re going to be jabbing a lot of buttons.

In practice and qualifying DRS is one of the most entertaining new additions to the game, as you dare yourself to open it earlier and close it later, risking disaster if you do.

Obeying its implementation to the letter, it even slams shut as you head towards the Monaco tunnel or Eau Rouge in Spa.

The same attention to detail has been paid to the implementation of KERS, which is not available if you drive for Lotus, HRT or Virgin.

Given that, it’s surprising to see another of the new rules for 2011 is absent: the 107% cut-off time in qualifying is not enforced.

Last year Codemasters admitted exaggerating the qualities of the Bridgestone tyres to make them more of a feature in the game. But this year the Pirelli tyres appear to have been toned down – I was easily able to do half a race distance on super-softs at Montreal without the lap times dropping off.

The Indian Grand Prix is the new addition to the calendar

The new Indian Grand Prix circuit is present and I hope the real Buddh International Circuit looks as good as the virtual one does. The only other major update among the circuits, aside from the disappearance of Bahrain, is the new pits at Silverstone.

The cars and tracks are rendered in crisper, more detailed graphics which create a more convincing environment than before. The team-specific steering wheels are especially good, complete with functioning LED KERS meters.

But by far my favourite new feature in the game is the menu option for ‘engineer verbosity’. This allows you to tune out the yammering voice in your ear, who waits until you’re trying to judge a braking point in streaming rain to tell you your engine temperature is fine.

I also like the choice of driver nicknames which include ‘legends’ – the first names of all the F1 world champions.

See here for a summary of the major features in F1 2011:

At the wheel

F1 2011 ticks a lot of boxes for its appearance and faithfulness to the current rules. But just as important is how it handles.

The new generation cars are decidedly less twitchy and punishing than in the previous version.

The cars feel softer, with noticeably more pitch and dive in cornering and braking. Without the real-world sensations of movement, these act as a substitute for the player’s senses and help you judge when the car is on the point of snapping out of control.

In the two easiest modes, which have a decidedly ‘arcade’ feel, even the most ham-fisted player will find it nigh on impossible to get the car sideways in the first place.

Playing in the tougher difficult settings you’ll find the car tricky though not unpredictable in its movements. You at least stand a chance of keeping the car under control when it starts to break traction.


Two rivals merge to create Vitaly Vettel

For all the progress Codemasters have made with the game, some niggling drawbacks remain from the previous version.

Top of the list is your inability to see what else is going on during a race. The new Race Director feature makes a small improvement in this respect by allowing you to keep tabs on the running order.

But, at the end of a two-hour race, you want to be able to go back and see the collision which took your closest rival out, how Lewis Hamilton ended up out of the points, and if anyone hit your front wing when it came off.

This limitation is also evident in new video walls positioned around the track, which only ever show what’s happening from your point of view.

The video walls repeat your perspective

I expect this drawback will, for many players, undermine their belief in the authenticity of the racing in F1 2011.

It’s partly because much of the F1 2011 world is so believable that bubble-bursting moments like this are so disappointing.

The performance of the cars and drivers, for example, is much more even than in real life. In half-a-dozen races I only saw a Red Bull on pole position once, with such unlikely figures as Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg heading the field.

The damage model still leaves a lot to be desired. This may be partly because Formula One Management forbid Codemasters from allowing the car’s survival cells to be damaged.

The cars seem unrealistically sturdy and react unconvincingly to contact with barriers and other cars. The way they shed parts like wheels, wings and suspension elements on impact is rather unconvincing.

Cars 'vanish' to avoid contact

At other times the game goes out of its way to keep you from crashing – ‘vanishing’ your car if you drive into the path of a competitor.

Of the criticism that was levelled at the previous game, the most deserved was that concerning the bugs that affected it. Many of these were fixed in a subsequent patch and I observed none of the previous pit lane problems when playing F1 2011.

However I did see more than one instance of two cars occupying the same space on the track and merging into each other, suggesting Codemasters haven’t quite nailed it yet.

The drivers’ artificial intelligence is occasionally very impressive, making opportunistic passes and defending its position. But it does go wrong sometimes – on two occasions I saw drivers stopping after minor collisions.

And while I’m having a whinge, why are Renault called ‘Lotus-Renault’, when none of the other teams’ title sponsors are mentioned?


Heidfeld falls prey to a DRS attack

The penalties system has been improved and interferes with the racing far less in the easier modes.

You will find it places much greater demands on your self-control as you crank up the dificulty levels, which is exactly as it should be. However it does tend to dish out needless penalties for ‘blocking’ when the car in question has crashed.

Codemasters have also expanded and improved the multiplayer offering. You can now race against a rival on the same machine using split-screen more. Online races can now feature 16 human players plus eight computer-controlled cars giving a full grid.

Codemasters haven’t tampered with one of the strongest features of the previous game – the weather. The rain effects and clouds still look great, and the frequency with which they appear suggest Codemasters are keen to show them off.

What has been changed in this respect is how dry-weather tyres perform on a wet track. Put on a set of slicks and join a wet track and you’ll find your car spinning its wheels on the exit of corners, unable to stop in braking zones and unwilling to change direction at all.

And many will be glad to learn the in-game timing now shows your split times during qualifying and the gaps to the other cars around you during the race, which is more more intuitive.


A Monza pile-up triggers the safety car

The latest iteration of Codemasters’ F1 franchise offers a lot to tempt back players who bought last year’s title, particularly those who enjoy online gaming.

But it seems many of its shortcomings seem to stem from the restrictions and complexities of the F1 game licence. That’s why there’s no support series or other cars to race in, no tracks beyond the 19 on the F1 calendar, and no classic cars from seasons past.

You can’t even connect it up to last year’s game and carry on your career from the end of 2010 into 2011.

Codemasters have produced an entertaining title and continue to refine and expand their simulation of F1 racing. But for several reasons, some not of their making, there’s still a way to go to transform this very good game into a truly great one.

F1 2011 goes on sale in the UK on Friday and is already available in some other regions.

RaceFans rating

Have you played F1 2011? Share your opinions on the game in the comments.

Buy F1 2011 for Sony PlayStation 3
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F1 2011 by Codemasters

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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126 comments on “F1 2011: The F1 Fanatic review”

  1. I also like the choice of driver nicknames which include ‘legends’ – the first names of all the F1 world champions.

    This is very good for me! :D

    1. There being no ‘Keith’, I picked ‘Giuseppe’.

      1. The obvious choice!

        1. Should have picked Keke! It’s almost like Keith…ish.

          1. It’s Keith for a person who stutters and has a short attention span…

            Ke-Ke….. *wanders off*

      2. You shouldn’t have done that, ‘Giuseppe.’

        Now you will be an easy target with some accusing you and your site of bias. ;)

      3. sloppy giuseppe. mmm

      4. There being no ‘Keith’, I picked ‘Giuseppe’.

        I’m ‘Rainman’.

        42 matchsticks! 42 matchsticks!

      5. I was lumbered with ‘Andy’ on F1 2010. Shudder.

  2. Not convinced about the safety car – I know there’s all kinds of strategy surrounding it, but it sounds like having half-time in a football game to me. I’m sure Mercedes-Benz are very happy about it.

    Is there a Magic Paddle? :)

  3. I’ve been playing a little bit this evening on my PC and I’ve noticed a couple of things.

    The handling is almost the exact opposite of last year’s iteration and as Keith accurately said, it feels ‘softer’. But I can’t help but feel they’ve gone a little overboard with it, because I continue to lose traction in medium to high speed corners whilst in 6th or 7th gear. The slides are easily manageable, but it doesn’t feel very convincing. The developers seemed to be very proud of the fact you can ride the kerbs without spinning, and I can confirm this is the case although, once again, they may have taken it a bit too far.

    I can’t wait to get it on PS3 and race some F1Fs properly, though!

    1. In 2010, with the steering wheel though, it was fun though riding the kerbs using the controller was very frustrating. There were times I shut down my PS3 when I couldn’t manage even a single fyling lap.. it was so sensitive.

      Screen shot of Indian GP is funny though. Michael is in P8 coming into Turn 1. Did they use the current form card while programming the pace of the car?

      1. I think the game suffers a bit from not being for one specific platform.

        They are trying to balance between console and PC and with a racing game that isn’t Need for speed… It’s difficult.

      2. What worries me more is that none of the cars appear to be in shadow, when the track they are on clearly is.

        1. Nice spot. Pro eye looking at it, I guess!

          Funny enough, the ones really next to the grandstands are in shadow, but the ones a bit further on the left (or right from their perspective) such as Massa or the Sauber further back. As if they used a light source position far to low and not behind the grandstand.

  4. I remember cars vanashing to avoid crashes happened only in multiplayer mode in F1 2010, which was very frustating, and I’ll assume this is the same in F1 2011, but the pictures you posted show these “collisions” in replay – which doesn’t exist in multiplayer, right?

    1. The screenshot in question is from the single player mode.

      1. Alfie not logged in
        21st September 2011, 18:59


        1. Euuugh indeed!

          Also the cars seems to use very high ride height in those screenshots. Looks weird.

        2. WHAT? VANISHING OFFLINE? Euurgh.

          It only happens when the game can’t process a collision. It happens occasionally in DIRT 3; sometimes, there’s a whole lot going on, and a collision would just be too much for the system to handle – so the game recognises it in advnace and ghosts the car you’re about to hit to prevent it from overloading itself

  5. F1 2011 is Codemasters’ second official Formula 1 game.

    I thought F1 2009 was official as well? 2009 + 2010 + 2011 = 3.

    1. Added “for major formats” in case it wasn’t obvious that’s what I meant.

      1. If im not mistaken, Wii is the top-selling console this generation…. does that not make it a major format?

        1. No. Wii was just wii.

          360, PS3 and PC are considered the major consoles given the extra cpu power, graphics ability, actually able to do HD, etc…

          While the wii may sell more it lacks the development potential of the others and hence can’t be worked in when multiplatform writing.

          Hence you can get Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood for 360 and PS3 but not wii because of the different ‘experience’.

          Similiarly there are racing games for 360 and PS3 (Forza and Gran Turismo) but only mario cart for wii. It simply doesn’t have the power to run it

          1. Whatvever you may say, the Wii is a major console format. Just because it’s graphic processing power doesn’t match up to the 360 and PS3 doesn’t mean it should be discounted.

        2. I didn’t say “all major formats”.

      2. It was strange that ’09 was published only for Wii and PS and ’10 wasn’t published for Wii.

        1. 2 different formats, two different styles.

          You can get a PS3 to render 720p and then put it onto 360 and it will also render 720p. You can write something that a PS3 can do and then write it for 360 and it will do it as well.

          NO matter how hard you try the Wii doesn’t have the power to process those calculations.

          The Wii’s power is more similiar to the PSP. The PS3 is similiar is power to the 360. THe PS3 slightly more than the 360 actually.

          Naturally you can’t get a Wii to do everything in the same time a 360 does it UNLESS you make it within the Wiis capabilities, in which case the 360/PS3 game would seem weak and underdeveloped.

          As I said above there are numerous example including the Assassin’s Creed games as well as the Battlefield games and Call of Duty, all of which require much more power than that of the Wii.

          Simple huh?

  6. I’m glad it appears to be an improvement, especially in terms of the driving experience as after all, it’s a racing game and you want to enjoy the experience of actually driving the cars. Things like so-so damage physics really don’t bother me – I play to race, not to crash!

    The unrealistically evenly matched AI is a bit of a downer – it was the same in the last game too In old F1 games the AI ran very much true to how they did in that season, so I’m not sure why Codemasters feel the need to make them more evenly matched. The Lotus-Renault thing also really annoys me!

    Will I buy this game? Yes. Just not now. I was severely disappointed with the previous installment and without actually playing the game for myself, I’m wary of whether or not I’ll feel the same about this one. I’m willing to pay £20-£25 for it, but for what is ultimately such a limited game the price at the moment is more than I can really afford.

    1. maybe you can get the one Damon Smedley (thats the cracked one, I guess, right Damon?) is playing now to have a feel at it before buying?

      1. Dan, here is my version at work if you want a little demonstration. As you can see, I keep forgetting to use my KERS! I didn’t set my steering wheel up very efficiently.

        But if you want a download, I’m not the person to be consulting. I’ll DM you on Twitter or something if you want me to tell you who to see. :)

        1. Ugh, all that squidgyness in the suspension is really irritaing. Could they have not given the cars the physics which make them more forgiving without making it look like a Triumph Herald tacking a mini-roundabout?

          1. I can’t believe how little hitting the grass on the inside of corners unsettles the car.

        2. The handling seems to alter based on difficulty? What difficulty was that?

  7. Car control in expert mode is harder than F1 2010. The cars seem to be able to drift earlier and the backend can come out quicker, making it harder to get the perfect lap in consistently.

    When using a wheel, the force feed is more communicative and definitely worth investing in if you don’t already have one. Track undulations can be felt in the force feed as well. And you get the full sensation when you hit the curbs in a chicane.

    1. The cars seem to be able to drift earlier and the backend can come out quicker, making it harder to get the perfect lap in consistently.

      That’s good news. I’m glad to see that it is actually harder to drive the cars.

  8. I don’t see any real reason to leave F12010. The main gameplay issues with the lack of information on the field, the confused Career-status information in the motorhome, and the display glitches remain. Also, I don’t see the great game-play benefit of having to mash two more buttons, time after time, lap after lap, for 90 minutes to run KERS and DRS. After all, it’s not like passing is dificult in the game. If they made passing realistically-difficult, then maybe KERS and DRS would be useful. I like to wear my hairshirt too and keep it all on “legend” and “no driver-aids” but I’m hoping they have an “automatic” mode for DRS at least.

    1. It’s not problem free, but by the looks of it it is a huge step above last years offering.

      1. Yeah, my only main issue is that the FOM display isn’t used. But I will have to wai until I get the game for that I guess.

  9. From my first two hours on the game, as far as I know KERS can be the difference for catching and passing another car. In expert mode I found it difficult to chase the leader if I didn’t have KERS and also when you are in the lead your rival can catch up to you easily if you don’t deploy KERS.

  10. Keith while I know using a racing wheel would be better, do you think using a controller would be detrimental to a person’s enjoyment when playing this game?

    1. I would say so but then I’d say the same for any racing game. Just feels wrong using a joypad or keyboard.

      1. What wheel do you use? – I use a Logitech DFP :)

  11. The handling have indeed changed a lot from F12010.

    It might be worth mentioning couple more things:

    The Safety Car feature is available only in races of 20%+ distance and it can be turned on/off in this case.

    I have done just one race, which is Singapore (you know, to predict the outcome of this weekend!), and if I’m not mistaken the DRS zone was on the main straight, which is very short. I don’t know about other circuits, but I suppose they put the DRS on the main straight as default.

    I’m still trying to figure out how they know which of Pirelli’s tires will be allocated to Abu Dhabi – point similar to the DRS zone.

    Heard from another player, and I tried it myself, changing the car’s setup after qualifying is not allowed anymore – which adds to the rules they implemented.

    One last thing, the AI has improved indeed. Usually on F12010 if I’m slow in practice then cars start to line up behind me whereas here they overtake – too aggressively one might say – and continue their laps.

  12. Lotus, HRT, and Virgin have KERS in the multiplayer at least, right? That would be very annoying if being randomly shoved into one of those cars meant you were instantly at a serious disadvantage.

    1. I’m pretty sure the performance of all cars was equilised in F1 2010’s multiplayer, because then whoever wound up in a Hispania would be at a massive disadvantage simply because of the performance difference, and the whole thing would be a race to see who could get to the best cars first. So I daresay Codemasters equilised the performance here, too, to prevent the same thing from happening.

      1. There were two option from memory, Where either all the cars where equal, or they had individual performance.

        Who got what car was determined by someones “rank”, higher ranks getting their preference.

  13. On the PS3 network, Can North Amercian players race against users in the UK or Europe? I don’t play online often.

    1. Yes, you can

      1. Awesome, thanks!

        You guys are going DOWN!!!!!

  14. I have seen some footage and it looks good so far. But as I saw the restart of a SC period in Canada I was very disappointed that the lead driver didn’t fall way behind the safety car like in real life and then bunch everyone up and slingshot the car out of the second to last corner for a blast down to the last chicane.
    It seems like it is impossible to control your distance to the car in front, which is a shame because what I was really excited about for this game was the SC restarts. It turns out I can only use them as a strategic tool then. Good job on CM for making the SC anyway.
    Another grief is the vanishing. I think it is a really bad idea in single player, and I have experienced bugs with it in the pits when you set it to full manual, break too early, then the car behind you will overtake you into the pits by driving through your car. I found that quite annoying! I don’t know if such can happen in the new game, but it is on pre-order, so I will see soon enough : )

  15. How much has the networking been tested this time around? In 2010 it was often almost impossible to complete an event, because people got thrown off the servers left and right.

    I noticed that it is on Steam (prepurchased it, and preloading as I write :)). When you use the Steam version, is that god-awful Games for Windows junk gone? Pleasepleaseplease say yes! ;)

    1. Doubtful. I can’t speak for F1 2011, but I have F1 2010, through Steam, and it still uses “that god-awful Games for Windows junk”. I would expect F1 2011 to be the same.

      1. I’ve never had a problem with GFWL myself.

  16. Solid review Keith. Big thank you. I’m picking my copy up Friday (U.S.).

  17. Does your car vanish every time you drive straight into another car? Can you turn the vanish option off? I hope you can, or I will be damn ****** off…

    1. It’s better than the alternative. Codemasters were doing this in DIRT 3 when there was too much happening on-screen for the game to be able to process a collision – especially if it was a big one. The game recognises when you’re putting too much strain on it, and ghosts the car you’re about to it to spare it from busting a get as it tries to model everything. It won’t happen every time, but it can’t be turned off. If it didn’t happen, you’re probably notice an agonising drop in framerate and it would open the door to serious (and possibly terminal) glitches.

  18. Obeying its implementation to the letter, it even slams shut as you head towards the Monaco tunnel or Eau Rouge in Spa.

    According to this vid, you can use it through Eau Rouge:


    1. I’m not sure what they’ve done there but I tested it and every time I went into Eau Rouge it closed the DRS.

      The only thing that springs to mind is you can only see the DRS light in that video – I checked the replay and could see the wing had gone back down.

      1. geo132 also commented on twitter, that he had been trying Eau Rouge with DRS activated. It might be the PC version he has though.

        1. Yeah, I’ve heard there are a few differences between the platforms.

        2. I have indeed tried the DRS in corners:
          Got away with it on Eau Rouge twice, 3rd time spun off.
          Spun off also through Blanchimont (corner before the chicane, also in Spa) but second time I got away with it going slightly wide though – both left wheels on the kerb.

          1. i tried drs in monaco tunnel on pc, and checked on replay it is open

  19. Safety car can be turned off completely, so if you choose to have it on why would you want to skip it? Seems like a negative that’s not really relevant.

    1. Having it turned on adds to the realism and excitement in terms of unpredictability and bunching up the field. Having to sit through it when I have no actual control over it sounds like a relevant negative for me.

    2. I see your point, but we’re not talking about a simulation that’s 100% authentic in the first place. The safety car periods are clearly truncated compared to what they would be in real life. And there have been other games with skippable safety cars, so it’s not unreasonable to expect this might be the same.

      1. Keith, one would assume that people who put the safety car on would want it on, and thus wouldn’t need a skip button. The only time it would be necessary would be for people who don’t want the saety car, but have not turned it off. So it would be good for all of one or two races, and with the sheer number of button functions this year, Codemasters no doubt felt it was unnecessary, or at the very least, it could be sacrificed.

        As for truncated safety car periods, that’s probably to keep interest going. I don’t think anyone but the most diehard fan would want to do twn or twelve laps behind it. Full safety car periods could really turn players off the game.

  20. I believe there’s also a license restriction that prevents other drivers from switching teams during the season or off-season. It’s kind of frustrating that’s the case and I do wish the cars were more fragile. Oh well, it’s still a great game I have to say.

  21. Does it mean that if you for example replace Alonso in Ferrari, he disappears from the game just like in 2010?

  22. As a 15 year patriot of a using a steering wheel, You must get one, If you can get a wheel with analogue throttle/brake in the gear shift position all the better but throttle/brake peddles are good but you will need a comfortable seating positon. As for F1 2011 I cannot speak but I was disapointed that GP3 by Geoff Crammond didn`t include the out/middle/inside tyre temperature data to allow calculations of Tyre Camber, but these things will disappear to accommodate the wider audience, what the state of the current games is, is anyones guess, but I suspect Arcade.

  23. Can anyone tell me if weather is consistent between qualifying sessions now? That always bugged me. I remember in Australia going from wet (ie. rain pouring) Q1, and dry Q2 & Q3.

    1. That’s a good point, it really annoyed me in 2010 that.

      1. Why is that annoying? It happens in reality all the time. I thought that weather variability during and between sessions was a good feature.

        1. I like variability in weather, but to go from Monsoon to Dry in 5 minutes between Qualy sessions is unrealistic to say the least.

  24. Using a mixture of statistics and guessology Iv`e calculalated that there is a 1 in 4200000 chance that FP1 an FP2 might be cancelled due to the re-entry of UARS…( workings using the NASA chance of one in 21 trillion of being hit divide by 6 billion gives you the 1 in 3200….use a figure of 5 million in Singapore gives you 1 in 4.2 million to one…sorry for the wrong place post, but hey it is falling outta the sky )

  25. I like the way Codemasters have modelled Korea this year:


    It actually looks really nice. Like a parklands circuit.

    1. Looks nice.

  26. There’s a guy in Estonia claiming that there are critical errors with the safety car. He’s posted videos showing the AI passing him under safety car conditions, but it’s also noticeably slow, driving around with near-terminal damage to his car, and running well off the racing line. The other one claims that if an AI car is immobilised on the circuit, but has no damage, the game wil not recognise it as a retirement and you will not be able to pass it – but again, closer examination reveals that the car is clipping through a wall, slowing it down. Based on the way he’s driving, he’s clearly trying to force the game to glitch. He also claims that Codemasters are attempting to silence him, so it looks like a troll somehow got his hands of a review copy of the game.

    1. Based on the way he’s driving, he’s clearly trying to force the game to glitch

      Are you seriously suggesting that someone doing the job of a beta tester is a troll?

      Codemasters – How dare they find faults missed by us!

      1. But he’s not a beta tester. I certainly don’t speak Estonian, but I’ve been following reactions to his videos, and people who do speak Estonian reckon that he does this with a lot of games – he gets his hands on review copies and then spends his time trying to force glitches so that he has something to complain about.

    2. I hardly think he’s a troll. The fact is that most reviewers don’t go beyond:

      1) how does it look?
      2) how are the initial feelings?
      3) what has changed from F1 2011? (most of the time, they then cite drs and kers, both of which are not the courtesy of Codemasters)

      If causing a SC and seeing what happens next is ‘causing the game to glitch’, then beta-testing is null. You’re not supposed to test how well the game works in optimal circumstances.

      Plenty of games with similar untraced bugs have been released over the years. I’ve seen it in the early Medal of Honor series and Call of Duty (leftlean/vertical clipping behind objects), Call of Duty 2 had proneclipping, F1 2010 had dodgy pitstops, random punctures, etc. As long as devs attend to these problems in the form of patches, it’s ok for me. The problem is however that some companies either don’t do anything at all or create a patch, but bring in new bugs or neglect to fix old ones.

      I have F1 2011 preloaded to play on release in Europe. I’d love to sit in the sofa and play my games from a console, but the past has taught me that modders generally save games from their own creators. Whatever Codemasters have missed, I’m hoping RDD will fix in the (near) future.

      1. If causing a SC and seeing what happens next is ‘causing the game to glitch’, then beta-testing is null.

        There’s a difference between causing a safety car to see what happens and deliberately trying to break the game. If you’ve seen the video, it’s cut very suspiciously – he causes a first-corner accident at Abu Dhabi and gets the safety car out. He then drives a lap back to the pits. But the lap is cut with footage from the aftermath of another incident at the first corner, one that he didn’t show, but he’s claiming it’s all one race.

  27. Seems that update 1.01 has been issued – 25Mb, just did the update and registered my VIP pass.

    Like the intro – it shows replays of incidents so far in the 2011 season. Only thing is the Lewis/Jenson incident in Canada is slightly incorrect – the game seems to think they were side by side during the collision, but in fact Jenson was ahead of Lewis.

  28. My Quick Review.

    1. New interface/menus are awful. I know some people didn’t like the paddock of last year, but this is just terribly drab and boring and kills the experience a lot imo.

    2. Graphics took quite a hit on the vehicles, I guess mainly due to the 5 people that will be using splitscreen. Gloves look terrible and pulls me out of the game. Some cockpits are rediculous, Red Bulls have huge mirrors on the side…just looks dumb.

    3. Physics I guess are better, I mean their isn’t the instant spin from 2011 but something feels off.

    4. New Career mode cutscenes are dumb. Would have rather a parade lap.

    Overall, I don’t think this was worth a purchase after owning 2010.

  29. Any comment on the track layouts? They were supposed to correct Maggots and Becketts and Catalyuna.

  30. I’m a little disappointed. It’s a lot of fun, and I improved my lap time around Spa by about twelve seconds within a few laps of starting, but my computer really doesn’t like processing parts of the game. There’s a few points where the frame rate regularly drops off, even when I’m running low settings – no reflective car surfaces for me. I’d odd, because my graphics card is only one step down from the required card (I have a Radeon 6550 when it demands a Radeon 6570), so I suspect it’s my computer. DIRT 3 did it when I pushed the game too hard and too far. Hopefully it will clear up later.

    1. Having a video card that doesn’t meet the minimum specification would explain a lot, unfortunately.

    2. There’s a serious difference between what is required (the bare minimum to play) and what is recommended. A HD6550 isn’t really a high end card in its own right. What are the rest of your PC’s specifications?

      [Recommended System Requirements
      Operating System: Windows 7
      DirectX Version: DirectX 11
      Processor: Intel Core i5 or AMD Phenom II x4
      Memory: 4GB Ram
      Graphics Card: GeForce GTX460 or ATI Radeon HD 5850]

  31. portable fanatic
    22nd September 2011, 8:03

    I am wondering why codemasters didn’t make a version of this on the psp. There are so many psp users that want a proper f1 game on the console & the f1 2009 was a disappointing game to say the least.

    Can someone persuade them to port this game on a psp too?


    1. There’s a version being made for the PS Vita.

      1. portable fanatic
        22nd September 2011, 8:23

        But PSvita’s launch is such a long way away. What would have codemasters lost if they ported this game on the psp too?

        This is way I don’t like codemasters, they do things in a random & arbitrary manner. I wish sony had developed this game & it did a pretty damn good job in 2006 with ps2 & psp.

        1. What would have codemasters lost if they ported this game on the psp too?

          Quality. Maybe they feel that relasing the game for PSP would compromise the wuality too much. The tralier for the game on the PS Vita was of noticeably poor quality graphically, so I can only imagine that the PSP would be an even further step down.

        2. I wish sony had developed this game & it did a pretty damn good job in 2006 with ps2 & psp.

          They did an alright job with it. And then they did sod-all with the licence for the 3 years after that. And Sony having the licence would mean only PlayStation benifitting, leaving Xbox, Nintendo, and PC owners in the dark.

          1. Sony having the licence would mean only PlayStation benifitting, leaving Xbox, Nintendo, and PC owners in the dark.

            Exactly. And when you consider EA Sports aren’t even producing PC versions of a lot of their titles, I think F1 is being pretty well-served by Codemasters in this respect.

          2. TBH Keith I’d rather they just stuck with consoles. There’s no reason whatsover for the PC version apart from of course much higher detailed graphics.

            Everything else is pure console. Game rather than simulation. Fine if that’s what you want.

          3. Well I’m one of many people who play it on the PC and I prefer having the better-quality graphics so I’m afraid I don’t agree!

  32. the best ever GP game continues to be the Microprose GP series, by Geoff Crammond. These games were made in the mid-late 90s and yet their handling still remains vastly superior to any games since.

    can someone explain to me, why games such as this, still feel so unrealistic in comparison?

    1. Some of the F1 modes on RFactor are cracking, might be worth a look?

    2. The first Crammond/Microprose F1 GP was great when it came out in 1991, but by the time GP4 came out, it had made next to no progress in physics.

      If you want the best GP sim, look no further than Grand Prix Legends, released in 1998. Admitedly, it simulates the 1967 season rather than 2011. And you virtually need the skills of Jim Clark to complete a race without crashing, but this difficulty has this amazing power to give you the *fear* of driving a racing car, like you are struggling to ride a wild beast. But get it right, and feel the car dance on the edge of adhesion in such a fluid manner, and it is oh so rewarding.

      Oh, and I also tip my hat to Richard Burns Rally from 2004. It is probably the most realistic simulation of driving commercially available. It really is tragic that no-one seems to have bettered it since then, for fear of making too much of a niche product.

      Lastly, Live for Speed is a sim that is great fun to play.

      1. It is also worth pointing out that iRacing uses the most recent incarnation of the GPL engine – although over the years it has been heavily updated.

        Regarding Geoff Crammond, it’s rather harsh to claim he ‘had made next to no progress in physics’ during the 10 years between F1GP and GP4.

        Especially when you consider that the weather and rendering engines, the AI, the circuit and car modelling, the sound modelling, the car setup and telemetry features were all developed extensively throughout the course of the series and many of which had a direct influence or reliance on the physics.

        As a result, GP4 is to this day regarded as one of the greatest F1 titles ever released, and was of huge inspiration to Codemasters.

  33. The way most collision detection engines work is to have an invisible box or cube around the car. Only if two cubes intersect does the collision detection do the expensive maths of working out in detail if there has been a collision, i.e. between the wheels etc.

    Its a bit of a flaky cop out to be honest and not one I would personally take as a developer.

    I suspect codies have a timer in effect and if they consider there is not enough time in the current Update batch to process the collision they render the cars as they do rather than take the update / render loop hit.

    If the processing usage really is up on the limit of what systems can do then missing the update deadline would mean a nasty stutter. I guess its person preference which you would prefer.

    I would be interested to know weather this is a PC only thing where players will have variable clock speeds and the issue of the amount of CPU available changing due to the inconsistent demands of Windows operations in the background.

    As if it happens on the 360 / PS3 I would be surprised that they didn’t reduce the collision precision to fit the worst case (all good engines have this ability).

  34. Okay, I managed to find a program called Catalyst that lets me run the game a little faster and a little smoother. I’m no longer getting the drops in frame rate that I was experiencing this afternoon, and with that in mind, I can give a much fuller review.

    The first thing I’ve noticed is that for all its complexity, the game is very user-friendly. I picked it up very quickly – much faster than I was expecting – and I started learning some circuits. I only know three at the moment, and I’m hesitant to get into career mode until I know some more. And to be honest, I’m just having too much fun learning the circuits to want to do anything else. I haven’t even begun to explore the layers of complexity when it comes to DRS, KERS, tyre wear, fuel maps and setup, but I’m looking forward to it.

    I’m also finding the overall presentation is very slick and very professional. Information is easy to find, and while you sometimes have to navigate layers of menus, it’s very easy to get there and back (unlike some games that I’ve played, like Final Fantasy VIII and the infamously complex Junction System). I also love the graphics; even on the lowest settings, everything looks great. The only one I don’t like is Singapore because the glare from the lights gives the cars a washed-out look.

    I’m finding the handling a little funny; the game really requires a steering wheel. The cars are naturally heavy, but the limited travel of the analog stick means the steering is quite sensitive. So I sometimes feel like I’m wallowing into the corners, shifting the weight of the car to push it around the bend. It’s particularly noticeable in lower-speed corners; I can really feel it in the penultimate corner at Melbourne.

    I’m a little disappointed in the Proving Grounds. F1 2011 has a new mode called Time Attack, which give you a pre-determined car and a pre-determined setup and challenges you to beat a set time. But there are only six trials, and no doubt doing a dry lap of Hungary in a Mercedes is very different to doing a wet lap in a Hispania. There were endless permutations and combinations of cars and circuits, so six feels a little short-changed. Hopefully Codemasters could make some more available as DLC.

    1. I used to **** around with my PC getting it to run fast enough for my racing games – and it ended up being a forever upgrade that loomed in the $1000s of dollars – frankly I got sick of it. That’s why I switched to the consoles once they caught and surpassed why PCs could do for gaming & graphics. There are times where the consoles are limited in terms of customisations, but in general I couldn’t falter the likes of GT5 and F1 2011 (so far). No drop outs, no screen lag – and bolting my wheel/pedal and chassis package to it, it’s become as close I can get it to doing the real thing. The beauty of it is that I can swing a few laps whenever with very little fuss, unlike track days/go kart days where you have to spend at least half a day preparing for it and the thought of $$$ if there was an accident – so far none (touch wood).

  35. Stoked for this. Bring on the Collantine Cup I say.

  36. PC owners beware. The game takes ages to install and the progress bar will probably hang around at 25% for 10 minutes.

    1. I had no such problems with the PC version.

      1. Seems to have affected a few users on the CM forums too.

        1. So it can potentially take a long time to install?

          *yawn* Read F1Fanatic while you wait or something… If you waited this long for it to come out I’m sure you can wait another 20 minutes for it to install.

  37. The handling over kerbs are fun.
    And catching a slide in slow corners is fun.
    But I can’t take blanchimont and eau rouge in normal fashion as the car will
    always slide… that’s a big failure!
    Didn’t they test this? … I don’t like this one bit.
    Gonna test some other tracks than Spa now :)

  38. Like the fact that you can’t easily recover a spin by simply stomping on the brakes like 2010 – which made it far too easy. Once you get into a spin you keep spinning and it takes a bit of skill to recover. Another good thing is the slight jolt in the wheel when you’re downshifting – all the more reason to get a wheel for this game.

  39. Looks absolutely stunning and is equally stunning in just how bad it drives (PC version, G27, CST Pedals).

    Such a shame.

    Oh and negative Crossfire scaling folks. Don’t waste your dosh…

    1. Disagree .. I have a G27 and after tweaking lots of settings it feels fine to me!

      1. Would you care to share please? I’ll give it a another look certainly. At the moment it lags significantly too, a little bit better with vsync disabled (but unfortunately lots of tearing) and the steering just feels soggy and heavy and disconnected.
        I see you enjoyed F1 2010 a lot but I couldn’t get into that either but I really really wanted to!

  40. Good review. I feel I wouldn’t get a lot of the detail you provide in a games magazine and us F1 fans are known to be rather particular!

    Hopefully i’ll pick up a copy this weekend or Monday at the latest.

  41. According to Steam I spent 270 hours in F12010! …played it to death, did a 7 year career with no aids and legend AI … brilliant fun.

    I was really looking forward to F12011 and so far have not been disappointed at all. Handling is vastly improved although after avoiding the big kerbs for so long it is really hard to change your driving style to ‘monster’ them as Montoya would have once done! The application of DRS/KERS is also quite tricky to get to grips with, but I like a challenge. It certainly helped when I realised I didn’t have to deactivate the DRS every time, applying the brakes did it for me.

    I have also experienced the safety car, and made up 3 places at the first corner once it had returned to the pits.

    Only slight worry – I did a wet weather practice session (Melbourne) and was very competitive when it was very very wet, but as the track dried I could not match the AI cars (on Legend). Infact, I was 9 seconds off the pace on the damp track and nothing I did made much difference. Am hoping this was a one off as drying races will not be fun if the AI can seemingly find mega grip on a very slippery track.

    Overall though – a big thumbs up from me! Am looking forward to starting a Co-op championship with a friend tonight :)

    1. Nice review. I played lots of the xbox version last year, and am thrilled with 2011 so far. Riding the kerbs feels great, i used to constantly attack a bit too much in 2010 and snap into a spin. This year you can race proper and attack them. The onscreen race info is a fantastic addition. Knowing where you are going to come out from the pits is something that was sorely missing in 2010. I also love that you can see what tires competitors are on and how many pit stops they have made. It makes the racing more fun and strategic.

    2. The pace of the legend AI on a wet/drying track is just impossible. I’m about 5 seconds off the pace! On a dry track I’m on the pace but on a wet or drying one forget about it. The AI is just getting a lot more grip than me.

      1. Had the same problem. There was a wet session and all of a sudden I notice AI cars putting up way better times and they were on options! I tried going out on options and the track was undrivable for me – just as it should have been.

  42. I read this and saw that DRS shuts itself at Spa. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and I had a massive accident!

    Also, the video screens were also in F1 2010, but maybe there are more this year.

  43. Have to say – MASSIVE LETDOWN!

    The handling feels numb and the car slides a lot unlike F1 2010 which felt pretty good and solid. F1 2011 in comparison just feels arcadey and inconsistent.

    My biggest gripe however is the graphics, they are appalling!! The framerate is abysmal and playing it makes me feel like I’m back on the ps2!

    Having seen the codemasters forums, the reception has not been good to say the least.

    1. The only thing I thought was ok with this release was the graphics. I have everything maxed out at 1920×1080 and it’s all running smooth as butter and looks quite nice.

    2. Keith, I’d like to get your view on this.

      Did you get a chance to play the ps3 version as there is some talk of it being recalled now such is the volume of issues with the game and the uproar it has caused with ps3 users

      1. Sorry about my comment there Mild7nick – I was thinking only of the PC version.

  44. I have it on ps3 and its atrocious

  45. I have only played the game on xbox, but I find it horribly sluggish (the physics are off, the steering reacts slowly, the load times are way outside acceptable limits). The final controller-throwing, put-the-game-away-for-good moment came when I was leading the GP (in a force india, being chased by massa… so much for realism, but i digress), and at one of the last turns the graphics glitched as i was aiming for the apex and I spun out and wrecked. Then I put the forza disc back in. (If you have not played forza [and you have an xbox], go at least download the demo. Once you get a taste for a proper 120hz physics engine, you will put F1 down for good as well)

    TL;DR: Game is a waste of everything and gets a 1-star from me.

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