Basic game mechanics and introduction to critical concepts.
Table of Contents
About This Guide
This guide is intended to help you getting started on your first F1 22 Manager career. But this guide is NOT intended to explain you every detail of the game. More people will come up with more detailed guides and youtubers will dedicate hours of videos to explain everything on this game.
For now, my idea is to help you get familiar with basic concepts and game mechanics and avoid easy mistakes. After you finish reading this guide, you still have to figure out a lot of stuff on your own, but hopefully this helps you get better quick, before you get frustrated.
I have almost 600 hours playing Motorsport Manager (MM), the predecessor of F1 22 Manager (F1 22 M). Moreover, I race karting in real life, TAG category, IAME X30 engine (max speed 95 mph), I also race in virtual races on iRacing since 2017, and I’m a big F1 fan. I started watching F1 in 1998 and never stopped watching since then. I’m writing this guide based on my experience playing Motorsport Manager, and a little bit of real word racing.
If you already played Motorsport Manager, then this guide will be boring to you. If you have not played it, then see if by reading this guide you enjoy and understand more F1 22 M and discover your inner speed.
Not everything that I say in this guide is proven. In fact, most of it is not. However, I have strong suspicious on how the mechanics (code) work behind the scenes, so I make assumptions and so far, those assumptions have been correct based on the few hours (about 10 by now) I have on F1 22 Manager, but more research and play time is needed to confirm those assumptions.
As a human, I could be wrong about some assumptions. Also note that the developers are already acknowledging some bugs in the game, so be aware that the mechanics are still being developed, so things may change in the future.
This game is difficult, and it will take time to master. It’s not the type of game where you play couple hours and then you start beating everyone. It’s not a FPS or RTS, it’s not even a racing game per-say. It is a racing simulation game. What’s the difference? In racing games, you race and its all about your driving skills (reaction, racing line, breaking ability, focus, etc).
In F1 22 M, it’s all about understanding the car, the strategy, studying your opponents, realizing your strengths and weaknesses and improving over time. If you find the game hard, frustrating and almost impossible, well, welcome to the F1 word. Aston Martin re-joined F1 six years ago and they have never won a race, EVER! On the other hand, Mercedes has been in F1 for many years (on and off), they won seven championships in a row in the last 10 years of the sport, but they haven’t won one race this year. Why? F1 is hard, very complex and difficult to master.
If you start with a low rated team (Williams, Haas, etc) be prepared for a long career before you can even reach a podium in this F1 simulator. I’m talking about several seasons long. It takes about 5-6 seasons to win your first race in MM (when you start with a low rated team), so I suspect it will take several seasons in F1 22 M to get there as well. For that reason, don’t over hype yourself about winning any time soon with a low rated team. If you start with a high rated team, then yes, you might win some races at first, but it only takes one or few mistakes to screw up your race.
F1 is a milliseconds sport, so it takes milliseconds to screw up. I would think that if you are not familiar with real life F1 strategy and definitions (undercut, overcut, track temp, etc) then even if you pick a top-rated team, you will go downhill very fast. If this is your case, I strongly recommend you to start with a low rated team, because you can only win positions, not lose since you start from the back already.
One big assumption that I’m sure many players will make at the beginning is, having the best driver will guarantee you wins, and that is far from reality. If you start with a low rated team, and you sign a very good driver, e.g., Verstappen, Hamilton, you WILL NOT win races, this is guaranteed, not an assumption. Why? To win races, you will need a good car + good driver + good strategy + good luck. By signing a fast driver, you only guarantee that the driver in this formula is covered; you still need to get everything else right to win races, and believe me, it takes time to get there.
So don’t rush and try signing a fast driver at the beginning. First, it’s more likely a good driver won’t join your low rated team, they only join high rated teams with prestige and wins under their brand. Second, even if you manage to get the driver signed, if your car is not competitive vs high rated teams, you won’t go anywhere. I’m going to breakdown the formula for you so you have an idea on how the formula affects the outcome of a race. Full discourse, this is my assumption on how the formula works, and I have no way to prove this works. I’m making my assumption based on my experience with MM, and I’m assuming it works similarly in F1 22 M.
Percentage of how it affects race outcomes:
- Driver = 40%
- Car = 30%
- Strategy = 20%
- Race conditions/luck = 10%
There is another important factor that I have not explored yet, Opportunity. Sometimes there are events during a race that could give you an extraordinary opportunity to gain positions. Some of these events are rain, crashes, virtual safety cars, etc. I’m sure the formula above gets affected by these events, but since I have not experienced these events yet I won’t go there. But be aware, these events can dramatically change the outcome of a race, even if you have a low rated team.
Historic fact: In 2021, Williams, one of the lowest rated teams in F1 took 2nd place on the grid at the Spa GP, a miracle in modern F1. How this was possible? It was raining and at the time the driver took the lap (George Russell) the track was not as wet as before when other drivers made the lap. Also, George is a very talented driver, I’m sure he put a lot of effort on that lap and made it happen. But the rain was the key factor that day. Watch the qualifying session replay here.
To wrap up this overview, be patient! It will take time before you get up there. This is normal and I suspect the developers made the game that way to reflect the reality of the sport. If you make the right decisions, design and manufacture the right parts, conduct research on time, hire the right people, and get a bit of luck, you should start seeing results in about 2 or 3 seasons (if you start with a low rated team). So be prepared with a cup of coffee, because it’s going to be a long ride.
Actions To Take As Soon As You Start (With A Low Rated Team)
Low rated teams have poor performing cars, and that is the biggest problem you’ll have. Overall, they have decent drivers, decent staff, decent facilities, but their car sucks and that is your first objective, to make the car better. Forget about spending money in fancy drivers, or high quality staff; you need to make your car competitive as soon as possible, Also, your budget and income it’s probably low, so you have to pay attention to expenses.
To make the car faster and more competitive, you will need to upgrade your facilities first. Start with the Design Centre and the Factory. You can upgrade both at the same time, but one takes longer to upgrade. Also, take a look at the weaknesses of your car using the “Car Analysis” tool. If your car is very weak on aerodynamics, then upgrading the Wind Tunnel will be very beneficial to you. If your car is weak on suspension, then you should build the Suspension Simulator fast. You should try to tackle your weaknesses first. Also, when you compere cars with other teams, always, ALWAYS compare your car vs the team that closest challenges you during a race/season. For example, if you start with Williams, your top challenger will be Aston Martin and Haas, so you should compare your car against their cars. Never compare your car vs the top teams, they are at a different league and you are too far from them to beat them. Once your weaknesses vs the challenger are equal or better, then you will start beating this team and a new challenger will come up. At that point you can start comparing your car with the new challenger.
Upgrade your Tour Centre. This will bring extra income, and the faster you build it, the sooner you get the money coming in.
Don’t spend money upgrading the Weather Centre or Scout Centre yet, those should be one of the last upgrades you do in your career.
Design new parts asap. They will help improve your race pace. Note that once you design a part, you still have to manufacture it to use it during a race. I strongly recommend you build only one part instead of two. Why? Short answer, to save on manufacturing cost. Remember I talked about saving money? So, to save money you should put all your new parts in one car. That is how F1 teams work in real life, new parts go to one car, usually the car with the fastest driver. If the part works well and it’s better than the previous part, then they manufacture an additional part for the second car. You should do the same in F1 22 M. Personally, I won’t even bother building a new part for the second car, I always build new parts for my #1 car. Once I build a new part for my #1 car, the part that used to be new goes to the 2nd car, that way the #2 car gets an upgrade too, but only after a newer part is installed on the #1 car. In other words, your second car is more likely not going to beat your first car, and that it’s ok. Once your team evolves and you get enough money to manufacture one part per car (2 parts), then you’ll have fun, but for now, stick to this rule to save money. I don’t build new parts for my second car until I am between the top 8 or 6 cars.
Don’t break contracts. If you do, you will pay a buyout fee and that is a fast way to waste money. If you don’t like your drivers or staff, wait until the end of their contracts.
Scout young drivers asap. The golden rule with your staffed drivers should be, have one experienced driver in your #1 car, and have a young, upcoming driver on your #2 car. That’s how it is in real life F1 and you should do the same here. If you start with a low rated team, look for two young drivers, or maybe one decent experienced driver, and one young. But don’t try to get an expensive driver early in your career, because your driver won’t be able to do anything with the low competitive car that you have. Once you get your car at a competitive level, then you look for a good driver. Once your car is very competitive, then you look for two great drivers. When you scout for drivers, look for young (19-21) drivers with “Overall Rating” around 60, these are the good ones. Pay attention to their attributes. I suspect that aggressive drivers tend to crash often.
The first two seasons are all about developing parts for your car and improving your facilities. Don’t pay much attention to your race results, because they are going to be disappointing for a while. Do keep an eye on your qualification and race performance targets, try not to make many of them when you start your career, because it’s hard to achieve them. But once you develop new parts, and become familiar with race strategy and opportunities, then commit to the targets. At some point it should be easier to achieve them, but it’s not easy when you start with a low rated team.
Free Practice Sessions
Each track offers different distribution (# of tire sets) of compounds. Some tracks offer more soft tires than medium tires, and some of them offer more mediums than hard compounds. In real life, the compound manufacturer “Pirelli” suggest what compound the cars should use based on their research and manufacturing process (tire’s degradation data) for the tires. Then the FIA approves the selection and they enforce usage rules on F1 teams. What to do here? For the first practice, use the compound that you have the most. Why? Because, for your race strategy (and FIA regulations), you will probably need the other compounds (that you have in less quantity), and if you use the compound that you have the least, then you are going to screw yourself up during the race. There are other strategies for compound use and free practices, like using the tire you are the fastest. But I won’t talk about those strategies, since they are for advance players and people that know more about F1.
Free Practice one (FP1) is all about finding a decent setup, acclimatizing the driver with the track and getting the driver familiar with the car parts. It is not about top speed, fast times, or beating the competition. Also, when you send your drivers out, make changes to the setup, but not to the Pace, Fuel, or ERS, because this will skew your results. Keep the standard selection for these options, and never touch them. Once you get a competitive car and driver, then you can worry about these settings during practice sessions. FP2 is all about refining your setup. By the end of FP2, you should have found an 80% “Driver’s confident” setup. FP3 is all about optimizing your final setup, it should go from 80% to 90%, but this is very tricky and takes time to master the process of how to refine/optimize setups. Yet, even with a 100% “confident” setup, you won’t win the race. If anything, (I suspect) you will only gain one place on the grid/race. So don’t stress about the setup much, at least during your first seasons. Once you learn how to modify the setup to find the optimal setting, then you can stress about it. I want to write a good breakdown of how to get the best setup, but I need time. So, for now, I’ll give you some key notes.
Adjusting Your Car’s Setup
Each driver requires a different setup, so you won’t be able to copy one’s driver setup and make it work on the other driver. However, I suspect that good level setups between drivers are similar. So, if for one driver, one setting, let’s say “Straights” is “Optimal” and the bar is all the way to the right, then it’s very likely the setup for the same setting for the other driver is also to the right side, but not in the same right side of the other driver. In other words, you can use one driver’s setup to guide you get a good setup on the other driver, but that only will help you to get a “Good” setting, and you should do this during FP1, get similar setups. But during FP2 y FP3 you have to go setting by setting on each driver to find their respective “Optimal” setting, because each driver prefers a different setting than the other driver.
One strategy I use is, in FP1, I set up the car in opposite ways to each driver. So, one driver gets the complete opposite setup from the other driver. Once both drivers complete their first stint of practice (15 laps) then you get to see their feedback. One of the drivers should give you positive or negative feedback about some settings. Now you know what direction to follow with the other driver’s setup, so you can replicate the setup on the other driver. By combining the feedback from both drivers, you should have a good idea on where to go with some settings. Sometimes drivers give you feedback about 2 or 3 settings, but not all. So, my first settings for FP1 look like this.
See how car 1 is the opposite setup of car 2? By the end of the first stint, I should be able to tell if the driver from car 1 likes some of these settings, then I compare that to car 2. By combining their feedback, I should be able to build a better setup for the second stint on FP1 for both drivers.
By FP3 you should know their feedback in all settings. If not, that means the driver did not spend enough time with the setup during practice sessions, this happens very often. Also note that some drivers are better at giving feedback. I suspect more experienced (older) drivers give better feedback than new (young) drivers.
You want to have at least “Great” feedback on the “Straights” and on the “Oversteer” setting. Why? I suspect “Straights” setting has a heavy impact on race pace, especially on tracks with a lot of straights or low downforce (Spa, Monza, Silverstone). I suspect the “Oversteer” setting has a heavy impact on most circuits. So, I recommend working on getting these settings with “Great” feedback asap, then figuring out the rest.
Be aware, the fact that you got “Great” feedback on all settings doesn’t mean you are done. I suspect that you must get a high confidence level “Drive’s setup confidence” to actually get the benefits of the setup. Drivers gain confidence by driving the same (unchanged) setup more often (more laps) during practice sessions. Aim to get at the very minimum 80% confidence by race day. Anything above 90% is perfect. Getting 100% is almost impossible and it’s more about luck than anything.
Do not change your setup during Qualification or before the actual race, because that will change the confidence level of your driver on the setup and I suspect this results in a negative experience for the driver during the race.
To make a faster lap during qualification (Q), make sure the track has “High” rubber and grip. That normally happens after other cars have driven on the track a lot, and this normally happens at the end of the sessions. So, aim to get your car out there on the last 4-5 minutes of Q1-Q2-Q3. Be aware, if you get stuck on traffic, you’ll go slow and that will be it for the session. So, pay attention when you release your car from pits, make sure there are no cars in front, or at least they are far away so your driver is not stuck on traffic. This is hard to do tho, it’s all about timing and sometimes luck. That’s how it is in real life, and that’s what’s happening here as well.
During Qualification sessions, F1 22 M shows a graph right above the driver’s windows to help you predict when could be the optimal time to release your car and make a fast lap. Pay attention to this graph when releasing your car. Historic fact: In 2019, during the Monza GP, in Q3, all cars went out to do their qualy time at the same time. They tried to get behind another car to get a draft/tow (aerodynamic advantage) from the car in front and this caused some drivers to go slower than others to avoid getting passed. Long-story-short, some drivers ran out of time and they were not able to set a fast lap time, because of the bad timing when they were released to the track. Avoid this in F1 22 M! Watch the qualification replay here.
In order to be competitive during a race, you have to constantly use your ERS (battery), but you also have to be strategic about it. You can’t use “Overtake” or “Deploy” the whole race, because it depletes the battery fast. You can’t use “Defend” either for the same reasons. But if you are not constantly using one this setting, by the end of the race, other teams will gain an advantage on you and you won’t be able to catch them. So, you have to constantly change this setting during a race and keep an eye on the battery levels. Keep in mind that some tracks recharge the battery faster than others, because they have more breaking zones. So, you have to change ERS usage by tracks. Sometimes you will use it more than others.
The same rule applies to the “Fuel” and “Pace” settings, but these settings are changed less frequently. For example, you probably can start a race on the “Aggressive” or “Attack” pace setting (I don’t recommend doing this unless you are in the top 5). Your tires will suffer high degradation, but it’ll take a while for this to actually affect your performance, so you can keep this setting for a while. On the other hand, if you use the “Deploy” setting on the ERS, you will deplete your battery in 2 or 3 laps, and after that you won’t be able to keep up with the cars that used their ERS more strategically. They will overtake you soon and you will be recharging your battery by the time they overtaking you. So, be strategic about your ERS, but keep in mind that you will have to use it often to stay competitive during a race.
You are competing against the team in front of you, not the top 5. Keep an eye on your lap times and on your competition’s lap times. If you are close to them, then you should use a combination of more Pace, Fuel and/or ERS to do faster lap times than them and beat them. Remember I said F1 is a millisecond sport? Well, here we are, looking at milliseconds. If your times are consistently (3 laps or more) .300 or .500 faster than the car in front or behind, then you are ok. If you are less than that, then you need to be more aggressive with Pace, Fuel and/or ERS. Sometimes it only takes to change one of these settings to make a difference, but sometimes it takes all of them, it depends on how competitive your car is against the car you are trying to beat.
A race is all about beating the closest team challenging you, not about gaining a lot of positions. You won’t gain a lot of positions anyways when you start with a low rated team. To put this idea into perspective I’ll explain you the logic behind a race and how car’s performance affects the result of the race. This is how it works on MM, and I suspect this is how it works in F1 22 M.
Each car on a race has a performance value from 0 to 100. You won’t see this value, but it’s behind the scenes (in the code of the game). When the race starts, that value plays a key role on where your car will end the race. If your car has a value of 100, there is a good chance that you will win the race. HOWEVER, other factors will affect this value during the race in real time, and I’m talking about some external factors like driver’s skills, weather conditions, strategy, tire degradation, pace, fuel, ERS, etc. Thanks to those extra factors is that the car with 100 value is not guaranteed to win the race, and that is a good thing, because it gives you the chance to win if those factors play on your favor. Yet, overall, if your car has a low value; even if you start from 1st place, at the end of the race, your car will more likely end where its value is meant to go. For this reason, don’t try to beat top cars or even middle field cars if you are at the bottom of the grid; mathematically you are more likely going to finish at the end of the grid regardless. Instead of trying to beat the top teams, focus on getting your car more competitive during the season and also try to accomplish your qualification and race performance targets. Normally they are achievable when you get a bit more competitive.
The opposite is true as well. If your car has a value of 100 and you start from last place for X reason (grid penalty, crash, etc) you are more likely going to finish the race in the top 5 positions, because at the end of the day, your value is what affects the outcome of a race. In real life, when top teams start from the bottom, they still have a great chance of finishing in the top 5 places. Sounds a bit unfair, but that is how the sport goes. Hate the game, not the player 😊
End Of Season And Road To Next
By the end of your first season, you should have upgraded your facilities, at least 2 or 3 buildings. You should have built several new parts, scouted new drivers, learned your car’s behavior, learned more about racing strategies, studied your opponents, know their weaknesses and understand your car’s overall performance better. Plan out what you will try to accomplish next season. If your car improved and you constantly beat the car/team in front of you; then you should start comparing your car vs the next challenger.
After your second or third season, be ready to hire new staff, drivers, etc., at the end of those years, since it’s the end of some contracts. Pay attention to new qualification and race performance targets, this will be key on getting more money next year. Make sure you can achieve your performance targets based on the results from last season. If you were able to constantly place 15th during multiple races, then you can commit to reaching 15th place on your performance targets. If not, then avoid that commitment and adjust it when the season starts the following year.
Last advise, AGAIN! don’t try to beat the top teams. Just because you started a new season with a new car and a faster driver, it doesn’t mean you are ready for the big league. Get out there, race and realize where your car is compared to the other teams. Be realistic and set realistic expectations. Setting unrealistic expectations will ruin your experience in this simulator and you’ll get frustrated fast. If that is your case, then you should go and play Mario Kart.