F1 24 review: drivers parade

Codemasters have found the magic formula
F1 24
F1 24 / Electronic Arts

Every year, EA Sports and Codemasters focus on a specific area in which they should improve the new official Formula 1 video game. F1 24 overhauls Career mode, allowing you to step into the shoes of one of the twenty drivers on the grid.

The introduction of such a novelty is just a part of the bigger picture. F1 24 delves into the cult of personality on social media and race weekends in the post-Drive to Survive Liberty Media era. Drivers are the stars, welcoming you right from the menu.

Many of the driver models are impressive. Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, and Charles Leclerc are portrayed with unprecedented fidelity, and we get to see them in more intimate situations than we do on TV.

F1 24 Max Verstappen and his car
Driver models have been redesigned and many of them look quite impressive. / Electronic Arts

Sadly, not all of these portrayals are equally good. Some drivers’ faces are almost caricatures, or with incorrect proportions: Gasly’s face is too small, Hulkenberg’s too squashed, Ricciardo’s is just huge for some reason. It’s almost like stepping into a Spitting Image strip. But at least the petrol-powered track action makes up for the nightmare fuel faces.

The new Career mode comes with two big differences. You can now step into the shoes of an existing driver, with the ability to change your team at will. Additionally, a new Challenge Career features an asynchronous multiplayer mode, where you can play a selection of tracks picked up by famed drivers and compete on a leaderboard against the rest of the world.

F1 24's new Challenge Career mode
F1 24's new Challenge Career mode / Electronic Arts

I’m not a fan of Challenge Career not being scenario-based, as it’s just a portion cut out of the regular Career mode, with custom race weekends coming from real drivers - it starts out with Max Verstappen’s selection, the first race being Suzuka. The mode undoubtedly has potential, with updates planned throughout the season representing part of F1 24’s live service, but it should be more focused next year.

As for the new Driver Career mode, it’s disappointing that you can’t choose a different team for an existing driver right away. That ability comes in only from the second season on, so no Hamilton at Ferrari from the beginning. Sorry about that.

At least it’s presented well, with flashy new cutscenes such as signing a contract on a terrace in Monaco or taking part in a pre-season photoshoot in Bahrain.

By putting the driver at the center, Codemasters has introduced some interesting features, such as Driver Recognition: you get a bonus for the rating you’re aiming at over time, goals you set for yourself, or for decisions showing your loyalty to the team, such as contract length. 

Driver Recognition in F1 24
Driver Recognition in F1 24 / Electronic Arts

Some touches reveal how much care was poured into designing the mode. Recognition on the track translates into a lead driver role, giving you the ability to pick upgrades, and can be lost to a teammate in case of unsatisfactory performance. On top of that, driver attributes can improve over time, and they do so in response to how you perform on the track: not only wins and losses but also the number of laps completed in free practice, which results in an increased Experience value.

As it is, the mode is more imaginative and tantalizing than your typical Career, which had become stale and predictable over the years. As with the Challenge Career, it’s far from perfect and should be more streamlined to keep you focused on your role as a driver. But it’s F1 24’s selling point, and a vast improvement over Braking Point.

F1 24
F1 24 / Electronic Arts

I discussed the driving model at length in our most recent F1 24 hands-on. The series has now reached unprecedented levels of smoothness, and it felt as natural as it gets on my T818 Ferrari SF1000 Simulator. On PC, compatibility hiccups with some steering wheels and pedal configuration still come up every now and then, but once everything is set up, it’s pure pleasure.

F1 24 also removes some recurring issues. Cars have stopped sliding in certain corners of certain tracks, for example. On F1 23, this had kind of been fixed, just to be replaced by some artificial slips in the middle of the corners (that happened all the time in Imola). With annoying things like that finally sorted out, it feels like Codemasters nailed a great balance between the game being challenging and a proper simulation.

F1 24 Red Bull car
F1 24 / Electronic Arts

F1 24 shows how EA Sports’ series has reached its full maturity. Codemasters seems to have found the magic formula in terms of content, devoting year by year to a different area so as to put the right care into it.

As with all yearly titles, you always have the feeling the dev team is keeping something in its pocket for the future, but it’s a big improvement over last year’s game. 

That said, if the wide range of experiences available here weren’t enough, the level of refinement achieved on the track proves the EA Sports F1 series is a staple for motorsport fans.

Score: 7/10

Version tested: PC

Published |Modified
Paolo Sirio


Paolo Sirio is a writer based in Naples, Italy. He’s cursed with a passion for football, and a bunch of motorsports. He enjoys playing any sorts of good game, even though his favorite ones include action-adventure titles with a deep story, JRPGs, and anything touched by Hideo Kojima.