An image of a Ferrari and a Red Bull Racing at Bahrain in F1 22
F1 22

What to expect from F1 22

There’s plenty to get excited about after the F1 22 reveal, but there are still some questions.

Image credit: Codemasters / EA

Virtual reality, new handling, F1 Life and sprint races were the big additions that Codemasters have announced for F1 22. However, there are still some questions left unanswered and blanks that need to be filled.

So with roughly two months until release, it’s time to begin the speculation!

F1 22 – What is F1 Life?

One new feature that perplexed a lot of people was F1 Life, which is described as a hub for players to show off supercars, clothing and accessories. These will most likely be cosmetic items that players can earn through the Podium Passes and the online store. Simple cosmetics aren’t for everyone. But then the question becomes, what are these supercars and can they be driven?

The answer: yes! When going to pre-order the game on the EA website, it is stated that these cars can be driven in a ‘Pirelli Hot Laps’ mode which reflects what happens in reality. Some fortunate Grand Prix attendees get to run around in a bunch of performance cars, such as the cars of F1 manufacturers like Mercedes, Aston Martin and McLaren. Even though they aren’t involved in F1, Lamborghini have also been a part of this.

The inclusion of supercars seems a bit of an odd one. After classic cars were removed from F1 2021, why have Codemasters not brought them back through this F1 Life feature? It may end up happening post-launch, but many wonder why they removed the classic cars in the first place.

Will there be Crossplay in F1 22?

Last year marked the first time that the Codemasters F1 game was released for more than one generation of console, with F1 2021 releasing for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well as for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Despite the playerbase being separated between whichever generation of console they were using, all PlayStation players could still play together whether they were on PS4 or PS5, and the same with all Xbox players.

The trend for a while has been to enable crossplay between various consoles and platforms. Recent Codemasters release GRID Legends allows players on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC to play together, but it would seem this won’t be the case for F1 22.

It’s disappointing enough not to allow PlayStation, Xbox and PC players to play in the same races. However, it gets worse. It seems that, to a certain extent, cross-generational gameplay is off the menu. This has come as a big disappointment to many players who can’t get their hands on a ninth generation console. Players being left behind on the previous generation hardware will certainly cause a huge divide in the online racing scene, with many leagues now having to divide their console championship grids.

Having the game not allow for cross-generational matchmaking may point to Codemasters attempting to utilise the capabilities of the next gen hardware beyond just faster loading times. It has been done before with Gran Turismo 7 solely developed on PlayStation 5 before then being developed for PS4 and allowing for cross-generation gameplay.

Cross-platform gameplay could very well happen in a post-launch update like what happened with another Codemasters developed title in DIRT 5. However it’s likely that PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players could be left behind.

UPDATE 22/04/2022: Codemasters have since clarified that they will, in fact, be allowing for cross-gen gameplay. So thankfully, PS4 and PS5 players can play together. It is likely that Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S players can as well.

New Camera Options

Here is another one of the new changes that has left people guessing. F1 22 brings new immersive and broadcast camera options that affect formation laps, safety car periods and pit stops. From what we can decipher, this is an option that allows players to choose between performing formation laps and continue driving under safety car periods, or to let the game control those parts so players only have to do the actual driving.

This might not seem terribly interesting, but there is one aspect of the game that it could dramatically improve. Up until now, players never actually did much during pit stops apart from hold the clutch and release it again. So what changes does using the Broadcast camera option make to pitstops? More importantly, what does the ‘immersive’ mode do for pitstops? Are we potentially looking at more interactive pitstops?

Before Codemasters acquired the F1 licence, Studio Liverpool were the ones with the baton. Their last game was Formula One Championship Edition for the PlayStation 3, which was based on the 2006 F1 season and it featured interactive pitstops.

Players would pull into the pits, hit the triangle and cross buttons to lift the car up onto the jacks as well as the circle button to insert the fuel hose, then the R1, L1, L2 and R2 buttons to undo the wheels. Then those buttons again to attach the new ones, circle to withdraw the fuel hose, then triangle and cross again to put the car down from the jacks and square to lift the lollipop up.

So could F1 22 be bringing back interactive pitstops? This might be a stretch, considering how modern pitstops take less than two seconds. It may not be the case, but the announcement page does put emphasis on “risk and reward” when it comes to pitstops, could this mean then that players can choose to have a quicker pitstop, with the added risk of something going wrong?

Adaptive AI

Another interesting aspect of the announcement was the line talking about adaptive AI, which seemed to point to an advanced in-game AI that could adjust its own performance to the level the player is operating on. Hopefully that means the days of constantly adjusting the AI level are no more.

Read More: How to Find the Best AI Difficulty Level in F1 2021

We did propose a test similar to that of Assetto Corsa Competizione, where a young driver’s test could get the player to drive around in dry and wet conditions and evaluate them to determine the correct difficulty level. Maybe this adaptive AI will function similarly, but adapting in real time. This could also help with variance in AI performance from track to track; an issue in previous games.

New My Team Icons

The pre-order section, promises players more legend drivers in the My Team career mode. On F1 2021, players could purchase the ability to have icons from F1 history be their teammate.

These included 7-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, 4-time champion Alain Prost, 3-time champion Ayrton Senna, 2009 champion Jenson Button, 2016 champion Nico Rosberg, 2001 runner-up David Coulthard and 2008 runner-up Felipe Massa. When unlocked, it’s possible to hire them and no other team will be able to.

An image of Michael Schumacher in the My Team Icons menu in F1 2021.
Who will be joining these legends in F1 My Team? Image credit: Codemasters / EA

From what we can tell, it would appear that there will be more legends coming in. But who could they be? Kimi Räikkönen could be one, since he only retired at the end of 2021. Nigel Mansell is also quite likely since Prost and Senna are already options, maybe even more historical drivers like Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Jim Clark, Juan Manuel Fangio and more?

F1 22 could even include some more recent, but less decorated drivers. Nico Hülkenberg for example, or Antonio Giovinazzi, Robert Kubica, Daniil Kvyat, Pietro Fittipaldi, Romain Grosjean, Stoffel Vandoorne. Some of these drivers may stretch the term ‘legend’, but the addition of options beyond just the 2022 grid and the 2021 F2 field would vary career mode and My Team gameplay significantly.

Will F1 22 Keep Old Tracks?

Unlike last year, when Codemasters added in Portimão, Imola and Jeddah in post-launch updates, the only new addition to the F1 calendar this year will be available from launch. This of course refers to the Miami International Autodrome. F1 2021 also ditched the shortened layouts of Silverstone, Circuit of the Americas, Suzuka and Bahrain.

But the question remains, will Codemasters at least be keeping Portimão? Unlike Imola and Jeddah, the Portuguese Grand Prix circuit didn’t retain its place on the 2022 schedule. As such it runs the risk of not keeping its place in the F1 game, which would be a huge shame since it has been such a beloved addition to the game.

Read more: F1 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix Setup Guide

With that being said, F1 2021  featured the Chinese Grand Prix despite the fact that it wasn’t on the schedule. So perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope that Portimão could remain. Allow us to dream for a moment that Codemasters and EA will add other tracks, like Mugello, Istanbul, Nürburgring, the Bahrain ‘oval’ and Losail post launch.

What would you like to see in F1 22? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

Luca Munro
Biggest esports racing fan in the world.