F1 23: Precision Drive Could Be Pad Players' Best Friend

F1 23 WIP Screenshot of Max Verstappen leading Charles Leclerc & George Russel at the Lusail I...png
Accomodating both wheel and gamepad players in racing games and sims is always a tough challenge for any developer. For F1 23, EA Sports and Codemasters introduce Precision Drive, which is aimed at controller racers - and it seems like the creators of the latest Formula 1 game are on to something with it.

Image credit: EA Sports

Hitting apexes consistently and making small adjustments to your steering input are usually much easier on a wheel and pedal setup, at least once you are used to it. A controller's analog stick offers a much smaller range of steering, and tweaking the settings in a way that they feel just right can be a matter of hours of trial and error - if not more. In some titles, getting to this point is even close to impossible. Precision Drive could be a pad player's best friend in F1 23, however.

The system is enabled by default in the pre-release version, and while no adjustments can be made to it just yet, this is something that is going to be included in the full game, as per the first Deep Dive video. The provided settings do show the system's potential, however. To see for ourselves if it improves car control on a gamepad, we tried Precision Drive using a wireless Xbox One controller and no assists at a rather tricky circuit - Imola.

Challenging Chicanes​

Getting the approach to the Tamburello and Villeneuve chicanes just right is essential to a good lap time and not easy even on a wheel, so the circuit seemed like a perfect test track among those included. After a few reference laps using a wheel and pedals, we switched to the controller, and the Xbox One pad has two presets included in the controls settings already.

Of course, the first few laps felt a bit awkward, but what immediately stood out was the absence of jerky steering wheel movement. Instead, the animation looked natural, and it did not feel like this was just for the looks, either. Precision Drive is not a steering aid in the classic assist sense, but rather a way to get smoother input out of a gamepad the way the driver prefers it.

While the non-chicane turns were not much of a problem anymore after a few laps, the left-right and right-left combinations proved a bit trickier to get right, especially without violating track limits. However, nailing those apexes meant that we were not too far off our lap times from when we used a wheel and pedals. Most importantly, it did not feel the slightest bit frustrating, but rather motivating to keep going and improve. Even small slides could be corrected, which was unexpected, but very positive.

F1 23 WIP Screenshot Baku Azerbaijan Nyck de Vries.jpg

More control for better on-track battles - Precision Drive feels promising already. Image Credit: EA Sports

Verdict​

If the early preview of Precision Drive is any indication, EA and Codemasters might be onto something in regards of bridging the gap between wheel and controller players. The system managed to avoid feeling artificial, but is actually helpful with the default settings provided in the pre-release version of F1 23.

Once players are able to adjust and tweak parameters of Precision Drive to suit their preferences better, it should prove even more helpful in providing players with better control over their cars - which should improve gameplay in lobbies with mixed grids of drivers with wheels and with pads considerably.

Your Thoughts​

What do you think about the inclusion of Precision Drive in F1 23? Are you looking forward to trying it out yourself? Let us know in the comments below.
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

Does anyone really give a **** about this? AC RSS Formula Hybrid 2023, and never look back!
As a controller player (as a student, I simply don't have the money to spend on wheels and pedals at the moment, and have only just got a PC that is more than a potato, before that I mainly focussed on console), the F1 games are by far the easiest and most enjoyable experience I have had on a pad. The cars feel controllable and much less jerky in the F1 games than anything else I've driven, including some of the older RSS F1 cars. They also have a far better controller vibration system than pretty much anything else I've played; I don't feel the same connection with the car (which I understand is difficult on a gamepad) in an RSS car in AC or a car in RF2. The only sims that I feel anywhere near as comfortable in on a controller are AMS 1, which is in fact very enjoyable on a gamepad, and some content in PC2. I enjoy other games (especially ACC), but I just don't feel anywhere near az in contro of the car.

I'm not a huge fan of the current direction of the F1 games. The only time I've used F1 Life in F1 22 was to laugh at how stupid it was, and I don't se myself using F1 World in F1 23 much either, when, or even if, I buy it. Additionally, the physics on 22 are very questionable, but before that definitely felt like they were on an upwards trajectory. However, sim racers aren't the primary market of the F1 games. Their key target will be more casual players who have gamepads, just because of how much they outnumber wheel users. In order for that to be viable, they need to have a game that caters to their needs and drives well on a controller, and that is where I feel the F1 series is very strong.
 
oh, my. The whole crowd of trolls appears immediately
it is totally irrelevant, what YOU nay sayers prefer or not.
I own all this games you like and hate and i have fun with most of them.
So go out and hide under the next little stone, if you are not grown enough to accept likings of other people :p Nobody is interested in your hate.
Ok , that said.
Now the the real important question to the reviewer :)
Could you try VR and if yes, does if have the same problems like in F1 22 or is it better now?
 
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I only wish that F1 games didn't stop me from sawing the wheel with my gamepad as I see fit, by the means of dampening the input at high speeds. Had to ditch F1 2016 because of that, and idk if it ever changed. I'd like to put in some tire strategies and stuff, but not with the nerfed gamepad.

rFactor 1 and games based on it are somehow the best at allowing accurate steering at small angles, with a gamepad. AC is second-best. Even RF2 has lost that magical algo, for an unclear reason, and it's pretty much impossible to use it without extra adjustment in desktop tools.

““Precision Drive”” sounds like a cheesy name for non-linear input mapping. So apparently Codemasters dropped it at some point, while they had it just fine in the past? Gewd jerb EA.
 
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Does anyone really give a **** about this? AC RSS Formula Hybrid 2023, and never look back!
I'm pretty sure most people outside of your bubble give a **** about a fully featured and immersive F1 game over a high quality but still ultimately shallow mod.
 
oh, my. The whole crowd of trolls appears immediately
it is totally irrelevant, what YOU nay sayers prefer or not.
I own all this games you like and hate and i have fun with most of them.
So go out and hide under the next little stone, if you are not grown enough to accept likings of other people :p Nobody is interested in your hate.
Ok , that said.
Now the the real important question to the reviewer :)
Could you try VR and if yes, does if have the same problems like in F1 22 or is it better now?

Surely that all works both ways?

And as for VR, they'll tell us how brilliant it is, just like last year. They'll pay people to lie on youtube. That's the world we live in now. Big companies treat us with no respect and they get seal clapped for it.
 
Who really needs a gamepad? Even my daughter and her friend had proper control in my flexible simrig when they were 5 yo.
 
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oh, my. The whole crowd of trolls appears immediately
it is totally irrelevant, what YOU nay sayers prefer or not.
I own all this games you like and hate and i have fun with most of them.
So go out and hide under the next little stone, if you are not grown enough to accept likings of other people :p Nobody is interested in your hate.
Ok , that said.
Now the the real important question to the reviewer :)
Could you try VR and if yes, does if have the same problems like in F1 22 or is it better now?
All games are F1 19-20-21-22 etc... Cause mate...they are all the same
 
I'm pretty sure most people outside of your bubble give a **** about a fully featured and immersive F1 game over a high quality but still ultimately shallow mod.
F1 immersive? With that poor FFB? That shitty VR quality? That lame real driving options? A game that 95% users drive in TV fov? You must be kidding.
I have 2022, it is ok to play a while with my console friends but...it is sooooo far from being close to what real simgames offer.
 

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