Ever since F1 2020, My Team has been the flagship gamemode for the series. Under the auspices of developer Codemasters and publisher Electronic Arts, significant emphasise has been put on the mode.
Image credit: Codemasters / EA
At its core, My Team allows players to create their own Formula 1 team to become the eleventh team on the grid. Alongside driving your car, you also have to manage the facilities, finances, personnel and sponsors for the team.
Most of these features are quite surface-level and My Team doesn’t provide a very in-depth management experience. However, for the last couple of years, it has been the closest thing on the market to an official Formula 1 management simulator. Until now.
F1 Manager: The New Game on the Block
Around the same time that Codemasters were applying the finishing touches to My Team for F1 2020, Formula 1 was in talks with Frontier Developments. Frontier is the game development studio behind management titles such as Planet Zoo.
On 10 March 2020, a deal was concluded that saw Frontier gaining “exclusive rights to develop and publish F1 management games for PC and console platforms.” I’ll come back to the exact wording of this later on, but for now it is enough to know that Frontier had the rights to create what would later become F1 Manager.
Now, the release of F1 Manager, the first full-scale motorsport management game in years, is just around the corner. I, for one, am very excited about what this new game can bring to the table. The massive success of the Football Manager series in recent years has no doubt sparked the drive towards to sport management titles.
What’s more, with the behind-the-scenes aspect of Formula 1 having been thrust into prominence by Netflix’s Drive to Survive series, more people are interested in F1 team principals than ever. All of this certain bodes well for F1 Manager, and the hype around the game from fans has been clear to see. However, there’s one thing that not many people have been talking about. What implications does this have for My Team in the Codemasters F1 games?
My Team: Pale Imitation or Unique Experience?
The arrival of F1 Manager means that the identity of F1 My Team has to be called into question. What, exactly, is it trying to be? Is it a management-focused gamemode, where you need to micromanage your resources and personnel to reach the pinnacle of Formula 1? Or, is it essentially just a replacement for the bland old career modes that the F1 game has sported for years?
If Codemasters and EA want to continue to market My Team as a management gamemode which is intended to draw in new players, it will surely be a hard road ahead. Given what we have seen regarding the scope of F1 Manager, there is simply no way for My Team to compete. Comparing the two for their management gameplay will always result in finding My Team lacking. Unless, of course, F1 Manager turns out to be a damp squib, which seems unlikely.
Obviously, there is one aspect of My Team that F1 Manager will never have – the ability to drive the car yourself. On the face of it, this seems like a pretty major advantage. After all, aren’t most of us supposed to dream of becoming an F1 world champion driver? However, I don’t think it’s that simple.
Is the Driving Really Important?
Speaking personally, I often found myself wanting to skip ahead in the season when playing My Team. The races themselves increasingly felt like an inconvenience standing between me and my team’s progression. At times, racing almost felt like a chore I had to do in order to progress my career. If I want a pure racing experience, I will join a racing league. Others might prefer to play a different, more realistic game. If I want a management game, F1 Manager is just around the corner.
Think about it. FIFA has featured a career mode for as long as most people can remember. But when you think of FIFA over the last few years, what do you think of? For most people, the answer is likely Ultimate Team, a casual Kick-Off game with friends, or maybe other online gameplay.
Under the watchful gaze of EA, FIFA’s career mode took a backseat to other gamemodes. Now, if someone wants to play a management type football game, nine times out of ten they will choose the immensely popular Football Manager titles. It’s no coincidence that the rise in the latter’s popularity coincided with the decline in interest in FIFA’s career mode.
For those who want to feel like they are in charge of a club, playing the matches isn’t that interesting. For those who want to play a football game, or to drive in a race, there are more interesting and rewarding ways to do so than a single player career mode.
What’s Next for F1 My Team?
We have already received hints that My Team will be less of a priority for Codemasters and EA going forward. Of all the new features that were announced about F1 22, very few of them were to do with My Team. On the game’s Steam page, My Team is only the eighth bullet point on the list of new additions. It is perhaps telling that the next bullet point beneath it is career mode.
The contents of the bullet point itself don’t inspire much confidence either. The new features for My Team are the ability to choose your starting budget, an expansion to the department events system and more livery customisation options. These are nice changes, but they aren’t game changers by any means. Nothing about this suggests that My Team was a primary focus in the development of F1 22.
Do you remember the wording of Frontier Developments’ agreement with Formula 1? The fact that the studio has been promised “exclusive rights to develop and publish F1 management games”, might be another nail in My Team’s coffin. If Codemasters were to develop the gamemode much further, they may run the risk of stepping on F1 Manager’s toes.
Given Formula 1’s direct involvement with both titles, it seems likely that the F1 games are under strict instructions not to encroach too much into F1 Manager territory. If this is indeed the case, it’s hard to see how My Team can be significantly improved upon.
Do you think F1 Manager will kill the F1 My Team mode? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!