Our F1 22 tips are aimed at turning you into a virtual Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton – without the dramas surrounding the sport’s biggest rivalry. Before leaping into this year’s game you need to know your F1 22 ratings, get on top of its new features, and learn the nuances of My Team. Below are all the tools required to do exactly that, plus a few other surprises. Get all your essential pre-race tuning with GR’s F1 22 guide.
1. Know the new stuff
Whether you’re new to F1 games or have been playing them all the way back to their PS1 heyday, there’s plenty of fresh to go with the familiar.
Take F1 Life. Using this new hub you can view all your trophies and supercars, re-live on-track highlights, and adjust your avatar and location. It’s all shareable online, so if you have mates playing too you can dip into their crib and admire their achievements – or laugh at their questionable clothing choices. Much like reality.
One major change on the track is worth getting your head around. Simplified aero regulations were introduced to the sport this season, reducing wake turbulence and encouraging cars to overtake using DRS. This means you want to maximize your use of straights, settling in behind the vehicle in front to pick up momentum, then accelerating past as late as possible. When timed right it’s as exciting as F1 2022 gets.
Pit stops are also more immersive, with the position of your car upon entry vital if you’re going to avoid costly errors. Also be aware of revised circuit layouts in Australia, Spain and Abu Dhabi. Enjoy motoring around Miami, too – it’s the only new track in F1 2022.
2. Get stuck into Pirelli Hot Laps
Hang on, did I say ‘supercars’? Yes! F1 22 features a nifty crossover with Grid Legends, whereby you can not only unlock some of the speediest rides in the world, but cruise around actual F1 tracks in them too. These are the eight on offer:
- Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro
- Aston Martin DB11 v12
- Ferrari Roma
- Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition
- Ferrari F8 Tributo
- McLaren 720S
- McLaren Artura
- Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series
These beauties are put to use in a new mode called Pirelli Hot Laps. It’s made up of 40 challenges that test you in various ways across the globe’s F1 circuits. Take a DB11 on a checkpoint run around Zandvort, try to overcome a single F8 Tributo rival at Monza, or drift an Artura around Circuit of the Americas, scoring extra points depending on speed and angles.
3. Brush up on F1 22 ratings
Just want to jump in and motor around as your fave driver? No problem. Probably best to know how they’re rated though, eh?
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 94
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG): 94
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): 92
- George Russell (Mercedes-AMG): 90
- Lando Norris (McLaren): 90
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine): 89
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull): 88
- Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo): 88
- Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari): 87
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin): 85
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri): 84
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren): 83
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine): 83
- Alexander Albon (Williams): 82
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas): 81
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin); 80
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri): 78
- Mick Schumacher (Haas): 77
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams): 70
- Zhou Gaunyu (Alfa Romeo): 70
4. Be brave and turn off your assists
F1 22 features 12 different assists which you can toggle depending on your level of experience. Expert players know how to fine-tune these options to their liking, but for the more casual driver it can be tempting to have every possible aid turned on to maximize your chances of winning.
Newsflash: it doesn’t work quite like this.
Take ‘braking assist’. Have this set to ‘High’ and the game automatically slows you down going into corners. It’s realistic, sure, but this is a video game: sometimes the best way to get an edge on an opponent is to cut across the inside as you both take the same corner, which requires you to brake later than is conventional. In that kind of scenario, having this assist on is actually unhelpful – as you can’t do it.
Also, while your first few unassisted runs are likely to end in an assortment of mistakes and crashes, you’ll improve far more speedily without assists – which is especially important if you have aspirations to compete online. Aim to be playing with all assists off within a fortnight of getting the game. You might surprise yourself.
5. Be kind, rewind
Struggling with the above? There’s a MacGuffin to save your day. It’s been in the series for years now, but don’t forget that in offline play you can undo mistakes using the Flashback feature. This rewinds time by a few seconds, enabling you to go back and nail an oversteered corner, or undo that ‘accidental’ crash into Verstappen coming off the starting grid. Trigger it by entering Instant Replay, going back to a stretch of the race before your error, and pressing square (PlayStation) or X (Xbox).
6. Take time to set up My Team
MyTeam is the most fun way to enjoy F1 22 long-term. But there’s no way to turn back the clock once you’re a few races into your first season, so don’t speed through the initial set-up.
There are three entry points to choose from. Newcomer represents the toughest challenge: you have literally zero money to spend. Midfield Challenger provides $5 million to work with, while there’s a starting kitty of $10 million if you take the Championship Contender option. Many find this too easy, with Midfield Challenger offering up the most balanced challenge.
One of the key choices is whether to include My Team icons. These are legendary drivers, such as Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, who can be recruited for your team. Once you’ve chosen to apply this option there’s no way of undoing it – so if you want to keep the roster to current-day drivers, make sure to choose ‘Skip’ during the initial set-up.
Don’t rush the sponsor screen. Here you’re presented with four potential sponsors who want to spend big on your team, but they each have slightly different T&Cs. The key one to check is the Goal Bonus. This can mean a hefty injection of cash if you meet it, such as $3.5million for finishing above a certain Constructors Championship slot – but nada if you fall short. So if you plan on taking the one offering the most moolah, be sure you can meet their demands.
As for your first team-mate, spend a bit extra to get the best available. This is a results business, and you want your fictional buddy to increase the team’s overall podium chances – even if it means he’s more costly than other options. Just don’t get attached, as you want to continually upgrade this slot. Sorry, Osc.
7. Stay patient in longer races
Unlike real life, F1 22 is geared towards shorter races. Just as a FIFA 22 match lasting 90 minutes would break your brain, doing 58 laps of Melbourne wears down your reactions and concentration. But the option is there. [Races can be 3 laps, 5 laps, and 25%, 50% or 100% of the real thing.]
Whichever setting you choose, be aware that AI drivers make human-style mistakes. It’s one of the beauties of the series: where in the past every rival felt like a robot, now you can move up places mid-race simply by applying pressure to the car in front. Don’t feel every straight needs a DRS overtake, or every corner requires you to force an opponent off track. Getting your pit strategy right, and simply driving sensibly, can advance you towards the podium without a single risky maneuver.