F1 2017 Review

August 25, 2017

The Formula 1 brand is one of the most prestigious sporting brands on the planet. It brings big sponsors and partners like Rolex, Heineken and Swisse, and the drivers get paid their due diligence for the risks and skills involved in each race. We’ve seen extreme developments in the vehicles of Formula 1 over the past decade, with things like the sound of the engines dramatically changing in 2014, and now 2017 has brought a whole new array of changes making F1 2017 the fastest season … and fastest F1 game ever.

The big changes in this year’s iteration are due to real-world changes. The F1 vehicles are now faster due to some manufacturing regulation changes, the tires are wider and last longer. What these new regulations mean for gamers is that there is a lot more fun to be had. The cars now handle so well along the track that if you’re not actually in one and living with the fear of crashing and dealing with the insane amount of G-force on your body, you can actually enjoy the quickness of racing on the prestigious F1 tracks around the world.

At the start of your F1 2017 career, you are instantly presented with the choice of choosing a Career Weekend Structure or a Pro Career. Pro Career disables all vehicle assists for an absolute authentic F1 experience. Whilst fans of the full racing simulators may argue that F1 2017 will never have the same level of realism, Pro Career gets as close as the average gamer would be able to tell. The career mode has a whopping ten seasons consisting of 20 locations, fortunately beginning with none other than Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia.

Once you choose which team you’re racing for, the game pits you against a teammate in somewhat of a popularity competition. Each race you finish ahead of your teammate and complete goals that the team is looking for such as higher placements, you’re awarded points which go towards getting a better contract. It all doesn’t seem to matter in the end as you can progress through career mode fairly easily if you adjust the difficulty sliders to be within your range. What Codemasters really needs to look at is progression, difficulty and rewards to help bring the level of grandeur and prestige that F1 racers would feel upon winning a Grand Prix.

The F1 2017 career mode allows you to upgrade your performance as you progress through the career. You earn points which can then be used in the Research and Development tree. There are four main branches: Aerodynamics, Chassis, Durability and Power Train. When you select an upgrade using your acquired research points it can take some in-game time for your team to complete the upgrade, and also there is a chance of failure. We’re not sure how realistic this feature is to F1 in the real world but it’s a nice way to be able to progress your car’s abilities with the plausibility of some real-world failures.

So now it’s time to focus on what’s involved in an F1 race. F1 racing is more than just lap times and being the fastest around the track. In fact these days F1 is more focused on sustainability. If they can draw out how long they can stay on the track and limit pit stops then races can be won purely on that basis. F1 2017 has a fully controllable menu on the fly which lets you make basic changes to the way your car handles the track, as well as set up changes for your next pit stop such as which tires you want your team to put on.

It’s all done very intuitively which quick changes in a menu in the bottom right of the corner. Ideally you’ll know the menu like the back of your hand as you’ll have to navigate it at the same time as navigating an F1 track while travelling at speeds above 300KPH. There is also a voice control mode where you can ask your team basic questions including how far behind or ahead the nearest driver is, and a weather report. Whilst the voice control part of the game seemed kind of unnecessary it did add a level of realism that we hadn’t really thought of.

Each year the F1 games come that little bit closer to photo-realism, and 2017 is no exception. The tracks, vehicles and visual effects all look as realistic as we’ve ever seen with spectacular attention paid to each of the F1 vehicle designs. This year’s career mode gets you up close and personal with interactions with people such as your manager and other members of your team, and while they don’t look amazingly realistic, the attention to detail of the different environments that you have these meetings in such as your team’s tour truck is great and would make for a very unique VR experience if Codemasters chooses to go down that path one day.

On that note, with Virtual Reality becoming a larger part of video gaming in 2017 and DiRT Rally getting its own VR game, it would not be surprising if F1 2017 gets a VR edition later this year. The career mode almost seems set up for VR, and it makes sense to fully immerse yourself in an F1 race by wearing a virtual reality headset. We’re not sure whether you’d still be able to use a wheel given the amount of menu options, selections and changes on the fly required for a proper F1 race, but F1 VR would definitely be welcomed by Rocket Chainsaw.

As the series gets closer and closer to photo-realism we are glad Codemasters has full control over the licensing as they are doing a fantastic job of keeping the handling of the vehicles in line with real-world updates, as well as working on making the career and other modes a full racing experience and not just a hundred laps around Silverstone. F1 2017 left us excited as to what’s next in store for Codemasters’ F1 games.

F1 2017 was reviewed on Windows PC using a Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel and Steam Controller. The game switched between controllers flawlessly and has compatibility for most third party controllers.

We used an EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW card which ran F1 2017 perfectly, occasionally maxing out at around 130 frames per second.


- Hands down the best F1 game of all time
- A lot of difficulty levels and control schemes to suit all racers
- Breathtaking graphics getting closer and closer to photorealism.


- The sheer amount of customisation can be overwhelming for newcomers, even in the basic Career Weekend Structure mode.
- Lacks the full grandeur and prestige of a real-life F1 experience. There’s just no real feeling of glory.

Overall Score: