Codemasters F1 2011 came out on Thursday just gone (September 22nd) to generally high anticipation.  It’s the follow up to the BAFTA winning F1 2010 available on PC, XBox 360, and PS3.  I’m a mad keen F1 fan so I should be really excited by this.  The game reportedly offers much improved physics, new out of race action (post race), improved menus, as well as the goodies in the real F1 2011 season such as KERS (Kenetic Energy Recovery System) and DRS (Drag Reduction System).

I played for about 30 minutes on Thursday night and went round the track in on the Wettest Wet setting from the Quick Setups in about the same time I did in F1 2010 with my own setup, 1:24.6.

The changes to the physics engine is immediately noticeable.  Driving with attention to the throttle and brake is now a must. In F1 2010 these two inputs were more off/on switches, balancing throttle through corners wasn’t necessary.  Also, controlling the car once traction is lost has now been improved, with me able to perform controlled powerslides on a number of occasions.  Codemasters have also removed the ability to tap the brake when you’ve spun and have the car immediately pull back on line. Tap the brake now, and you’ll slide down the grass/road; much better.

So far I’ve put in 5 hours into this game (now more touted as a Sim) and while it’s an improvement, I think I’m even more drawn to iRacing than F1 2010.  This is disappointing, as I run the website for a competition based in this game, Atomic F1 and the members there are asking for articles on car setup etc for F1 2011, and I’m not motivated to play the game.  The biggest problem is the way the car feels, more precisely, the steering.  The force-feedback is good, better than it was in F1 2010, but to me it feels like my steering input has different effects at different car speed.  I can’t quite put my finger on the malaise, but there’s something wrong there.

It’s also a personal thing about racing real life competitors versus racing AI.  iRacing, for me, is a real sport.  F1 2011 is just a game.

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