Motorsport Manager game work-in-progress screenshot

Enhanced Motorsport Manager to arrive in September

2016 F1 season

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Were you screaming “don’t convert to a three-stopper” when Red Bull put Daniel Ricciardo on soft tyres for his second stint last Sunday?

If so a new game due out in September may be exactly what you’re looking for. Motorsport Manager promises to be something many motorsport fans have been hankering after: our own answer to the hugely successful Football Manager series.

F1 Fanatic met the team behind it and played an early version of the game last week.

Sim Pit Wall

Motorsport Manager game work-in-progress screenshot
Wexler (beard not pictured) goes on a charge
It’s not looking good for my number one driver. Dieter Wexler – think Sebastian Vettel with Brian Blessed’s beard – lines up 20th and last in Russia. The Sochi track is not identical to its real-world counterpart but it looks just as much an overtaking-free zone.

The lights go out and Wexler starts well. Let’s run with it, I decide, instructing him to murder the tyres and forget about his fuel consumption. He responds well, picking off more of the stragglers. A solid points finish is now a serious possibility – maybe better.

Within a few laps his Pirelli-esque tyres are almost exhausted. I jab the ‘pit’ button and on his in-lap it’s clear he’s hit ‘the cliff’. With little to lose, I tell the pit crew to throw caution to the wind and get him out again as quickly as possible. A fresh set of hards go on, a generous slug of fuel is added, and he rejoins the fray.

While Dexler has made a great start my other driver Niilo Saarinen has made little use of his second-row starting position. He still has the leaders in sight after the first round of pit stops but is dropping back on hard rubber. It seems the race may come to him when his soft-tyred rivals pit, handing him the lead. But the reason for his struggle soon manifests itself: suspension trouble.

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Dexler passes the hobbled Saarinen and takes the lead. I’m trying to get him to the end without another stop but he’s complaining about being told to nurse his fuel and tyres. And his rivals are starting to loom large in his mirrors.

But just as they’re getting close enough to jeopardise our grasp on a one-two they head for the pits a third time. Our path to victory is assured: a quick pit stop for each driver gets us back on fresh tyres, though Saarinen slips to third as his suspension receives urgent repairs

On lap 21 the chequered flag is out and Wexler clinches a stunning back-to-front victory for Ferrari.

I mean, Scuderia Leone.

Evolving championships

Motorsport Manager game work-in-progress screenshot
Cheer up Chapman, it’s the Ardennes next
F1 Fanatic played a minor role in the development of Motorsport Manager as game creator Christian West (@SirCoolbeans) used our forums to help drum up interest in his early version of the game for mobile devices. It was a hit, and now Sega has come on board to publish a big-screen version of the game for PC, Mac and Linux.

West, a fan of the classic nineties Grand Prix Manager series, grabbed the chance to produce the “more detailed, more in-depth” version of the mobile game he always wanted to create. Now you can watch the races in greater clarity, scrutinising your drivers for mistakes. And you can add your creative stamp to your team’s identity.

All the team and resource-management boxes are ticked: you can hire and fire staff including the drivers, scout junior championships for upcoming talent, use the media to get your message across, prioritise which areas of the car to develop and build your factory up from a humble shed to your own answer to the McLaren Technology Centre.

But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Motorsport Manager is how the game develops from season to season. With over 50 tracks available, many with different sub-variants, the calendar changes from year to year just like the real thing does. The rulebook is a living document too – refuelling, double points and endless qualifying format changes can all make an appearance.

You can even dip your toe into the murky world of racing politics, using your vote to swing decisions on how to change the cars and the racing.

The upshot is the championship you play in year one can change beyond recognition within a few seasons. And if you play long enough the offspring of the original generation make an appearance.

Immersing the player

Motorsport Manager game work-in-progress screenshot
What should you invest in: driving talent or the factory?
It’s clear Motorsport Manager’s parallel universe lacks one significant aspect: officially licensed drivers, teams and tracks. But that licence brings with it restrictions which would spoil the dynamics of this type of game – drivers could not be shown switching between teams, for instance. This is why six years of Codemasters’ F1 game series exist only as individual titles.

But part of the appeal of the Football Manager series is the authenticity of the world it is set in and the challenge of trying to take your favourite obscure club to Champions’ League success. That’s going to be hard to recreate in a fictionalised racing world – will people feel as strongly about Steinmann’s Harry Chapman as they do about Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton?

There’s also an element of suspending disbelief involved: gearbox and suspension problems can be tended to in the pits, and if you play as Scuderia Leone you don’t get to veto rules changes you don’t like.

In place of that, the Motorsport Manager team believe they can create a motor racing universe which engages the player by being compelling in other ways. “We’re hoping to get the players so immersed in that environment that the authenticity comes from what we create what we create in our world,” explains West.

We’ll get to find out whether they’ve been successful when Motorsport Manager makes the jump from pocked-sized fun to big-screen gaming experience in September.

Motorsport Manager work-in-progress gallery

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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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  • 43 comments on “Enhanced Motorsport Manager to arrive in September”

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      18th May 2016, 15:16

      Just commented on another thread about this. Looks like this could be the first decent F1 (sort of…) management game since Grand Prix Manager 2! The app was brilliant but very basic – this looks like it’s going to build on that quite a lot!

      If it plays as well as the app and looks as good as the initial screenshots, this is going to consume months of my life!!

      1. Did you ever play Grand Prix World, which came out a few years later? Loved that game.

        I had GPM, but never got a chance to play GPM2.

    2. Exciting. I really enjoying the mobile MM can’t wait for this!

    3. Looks great! I can’t wait! But to be honest, I’m kind of worried for F1 2016, with Codemaster still yet to reveal any information and not looking as if it’ll be officially announced anytime soon.

    4. Gavin Campbell
      18th May 2016, 15:41

      Hopefully he’s a fan of mods as well! ;)

    5. Looks great!

    6. Probably some disclosure would be good here. If this is paid, then it’s an ad. I think it should be clear to the reader that this is the case.

      1. Having said that, I already have the mobile game and am interested in this one.

        Just disclosure is something I feel strongly about (with good reason I might add).

      2. @mike Of course it is an ad… It may be fun anyway.

      3. @mike @peartree It’s not an advert. They held a press event to show off the game they are working on and F1 Fanatic was one of several publications invited to attend. No guarantee of coverage was given and no transaction of any kind took place. I hope that’s clear enough.

        1. I am sorry if I came across in a way that offended. In that case it is perfectly fine of course, I said probably and if due to not being sure.

          It is fairly standard practice in the games industry to pay for positive coverage, which is something of a problem. So I brought it up.

          1. @mike No problem :-)

        2. @keithcollantine Since every racing/f1 site out there has an article about this game, I assumed this is part of their campaign and it is, I do apologise however if my comment was perceived as malicious.

      4. I am sure that if it were a paid add Keith would tell us so (or rather, he wouldn’t feature it). I think its rather alike the articles on the “official” F1 game Keith made when it was being developed – following a theme that got many of us here excited.

    7. Nutmeg and Vettel with a beard, it’s like gta but on f1, it’s probably better than reality.

    8. It sounds from this review like the whole aspect of the mobile game in which you make your way up the different series has been dropped, though the one gripe I had with the mobile game seems to have been removed – I was always really disappointed when a new season started up against a random crop of drivers, and much of my enjoyment of these management games isn’t the official licenses. Indeed, on Football Manager, my favourite career is well into the 2050s and I’ve got a fictional Albanian up front. It’s the continuation that’s important, the idea that you are racing the same people year after year, seeing them progress then retire as the new generation comes along. If the game includes multiple championships such as the GP2 and lower equivalents, along with a proper continuous gameworld with drivers that don’t randomly disappear and be replaced by another unknown driver, then this will be an amazing game. Another thing I’d love to see follow the Football Manager model is an extensive edit mode, and maybe extend that to track models that we could make.

    9. Sounds great! I’m a fan of the mobile app so it is great to see this is coming and that it will have more variables to play with.

      “if you play as Scuderia Leone”

      Does that mean you can’t create your own team name like in the mobile version? I liked taking Equipe Ecosse to the top of the motorsport world. ;)

      1. I really hope you can rename your own team too. I used to play iGP Manager a few years ago and I had a lot of fun bringing my team Zero Wing up the ranks! I really don’t care about the driver and team licenses, I’m going to be much more invested in my own team and drivers than I would if they were the real deal.

        One thing I do care for, though, are the tracks. I wonder if it is hard to get licensing from real-world tracks. They don’t even have to be from F1, it would just be nice to race on some real tracks instead of only fantasy ones. Either way, I’ll definitely be buying it!

        1. I don’t think it is all that hard to get a license, many games have official track representations. Having worked on racing games in the past would the two big issues would be (as far as I can see):
          – Paying for the licenses
          – Getting approval from the license holder over the resultant game assets (this can result in iterative work on the track assets which again cost money)

          For a small team/budget I think everyone would prefer a well made game with fantasy teams/tracks than a crap game with a lot of expensive licenses :)

          1. With the one granting the licence being FOM (and them already having an exclusive deal with Codemasters) I think its all but impossible to get a licence for using anything F1.

            1. They wouldn’t have to go to FOM for track licensing.

    10. Fikri (@elangsawah)
      18th May 2016, 16:07

      Played the mobile version so I’m very excited about this! The mobile version is really great albeit needed some more work on game balancing mechanism.

    11. According to the Eurogamer website, the game will have Steam workshop integrated, so I expect many mods to show up for this. Like they suggest in their article, a WEC style mod would be excellent.

      1. Bernie might try and put a stop to any real-life F1 mod distribution on a platform like Steam. I bet we’d have to go underground for most recent drivers/teams/tracks.

    12. Will it be available for Mac?

      1. And Linux. Read the article.

    13. That looks very similar to F1 Online that was available by Codemasters a couple of years ago. It was a very fun little game!

      1. Indeed,I’ve played that game too.You refer to F1 Online that remained only Beta? and some time after they launched they closed because I don’t know why.It was really fun to play.You could’ve develop your whole team.And the tracks were similar with the real ones.You also controlled the car if I remember.

    14. Just from looking at that minimap – the fake Sochi track still looks way better than the real deal ;)

      Is that the 4-apex turn from Istanbul in the middle?

    15. Neil (@neilosjames)
      18th May 2016, 21:20

      Will definitely get this when it’s available.

      Be surprised if the killjoys at FOM weren’t trying to weasel out some obscure reason to take it down, though. Bet they’re having a fit at the thought that someone else might make money from people being F1 fans.

      1. Sega know their business. They have been releasing games like Football manager etc for year now. If they are going with it they know they are covered. Bernie can foam from the mouth all he likes.

    16. I waited for a game like this (for PC) since the last Microprose game, Grand Prix World.

      Now, dear developers ! If you want this game to survive, make it simple to be modified : change names, team logos, car colors etc. In two words – install mods.

    17. Ah so this is why the game i paid for on my mobile by the maker of this has had ZERO updates in over a year. Looks like this little “Beta” of yours worked out nicely, grab the cash and drop the support.

    18. Out of interest what bugs were you experiencing that you wanted an update for? I have never had a problem with the game.

      1. That was @David Bell above, not sure why it ended up as its own comment.

    19. I had no idea Christian West consulted these forums and I love MM for my iPhone! I’ve technically ‘beaten’ the mobile game in both Career types several times over and I have to say it was the most enjoyable manager game I’ve played. Great UI design. Some things I really hope to see fixed are:

      —Progression from season to season feels linear with regards to research and money. I kind of wanted to see some surprises and more struggles. I don’t think I was ever strapped for cash and by the 2nd or 3rd season I was dominating. The only progression that was strategic was the gradual upgrades to your staff and eventual decision to hire/fire new staff. It was easy to negotiate better staff every 1.5 seasons, and never really created a loss.
      —I used Push pace probably only %5 of the time, it never works in your favor. If you just dial back and run at a relaxed pace to get that extra tire longevity.
      —The difference in setups from your two teammates was oddly unusual from track to track. For a fast-straights track, my 2nd driver would be up to pace if he had high downforce and low gear ratio? That doesn’t seem right.
      —Tire wear was too predictable and you’d just need to pit when it was half wear or below-half. Wet tires performed better if you changed them often.
      —Configuring setup can be easy with hints, and I like the simplicity, but I wish there was more of a range to each setting. If that were the case, I’d want more time to dial in the settings.
      —Waiting for clear sun before qualifying starts felt like a bug. If it were raining you could just wait until the timer counts down and then begin so that you have a dry setup for the race. OR use it to your advantage and wait when it says that clear sun will come in ~9 minutes because with a 11-12 min qualifying, if you waited until the very end when that 9 minutes was up you’d suddenly have clear skies, soft tires, and get pole position.
      —The Fans/Sponsors type feedback sort of felt like it was helping but after a while this element was something I wish I could ignore. Maybe add a PR manager to do the job for you?
      —The only bug I ever had with the game was after finishing, the game would be stuck in an endless loop where you earn your “End Season” 1st place championship money and I could never get out of it unless I reset the game altogether. Basically using the looping bug I could accumulate $2,000,000,000 (yes, billion!) in a matter of minutes.

      Overall, I have some really small issues with the game. I’m shocked to see that the game is evolving to PC/Mac! That’s great news and I’ll definitely play it. These screenshots look great. I hope to grab the game in September :)

    20. I feel like I’ve been living under a rock for now knowing anything about this until now, but I am super stoked. Thanks for the article, Keith!

    21. I love the mobile MM. This looks like twice as much fun. :) Count me in!

    22. Incredible that we are finally getting a new game in September. Can’t wait. Also incredible that Race Tam Simulator is pushing out a new 3-track mini-championship demo next month, with 3 dry tyre choices and all. What a time! 20 years with mods for old games, and now we get TWO (seemingly great) games in active development.

    23. The alternative world version of Rosberg is… Nina Holtz, a woman! XDDD Spot on!

      1. Spot on? How?

        1. Well, he has a very developed feminine side, doesn’t he?

    24. I am hoping they have full race distances available rather than the scaled down versions of races. Still sounds good!

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