F1 22 vs F1 2021 Game Comparison (Is It Worth Getting F1 22?)


The new F1 22 video game has been extensively hyped with the all new handling model to match the real life regulation changes for F1 in 2022. But how does it compare to it’s predecessor, F1 2021? If you’re happy playing the ’21 version, is it even worth getting the new F1 22 version? What differences are there?

I’ve played both extensively now, so in this guide, I’m going to try and give you a detailed overview of the major differences and similarities between F1 22 and F1 2021, so you can see exactly what’s pretty much the same, and also what has changed and disappeared, and what extra you’re getting if you do spend the money on the F1 22 game (it is still quite pricey checking pricing just now).

I’ll try and lay out scenarios where it might be a good idea to get F1 22, and also situations where it might be better to keep playing F1 2021 and save your money for now.

Here a bottom line summary; it might be good to get F1 22 if:

  • You’re a stickler for detail and realism and want all the up to date drivers and track layouts (there are quite a few changes from F1 2021 to F1 22).
  • You don’t mind a more difficult handling model with harder traction, lower downforce and more understeer, and are prepared to put some serious time in getting used to it.
  • You don’t mind dealing with much harder and more aggressive AI.
  • You want to play online a lot (F1 2021 will be pretty much dead online now).
  • The new Miami track plus the altered Spain, Melbourne and Abu Dhabi layouts are great and a good reason to upgrade.
  • You want Crossplay (but early experiences haven’t been good – the beta version is full of bugs and not stable).

It might be best to stick with F1 2021 if:

  • You’re happy with the career mode as it is and don’t really want or need up to date drivers and tracks. The career mode is largely unchanged.
  • You don’t want an increase in difficulty, both of the handling and the AI. You just want a pick up and play experience, or to stick with something you’re familiar with. F1 22 does need some hours putting in to get used to the handling.

The bottom line is that, despite some major flaws on F1 22, for me and most real F1 gaming enthusiasts who have been playing these games from Codemasters since they came out, getting F1 22 is worth it despite the cost. For some more causal F1 gamers, it might not be worth it

Let’s go into more detail about the key differences and similarities between F1 22 and F1 2021, to see if it’s something that’d be worth upgrading to for people still on the fence.

F1 22 vs F1 2021 For Handling (Big Difference)

This one comes first because it’s perhaps the biggest change between the two games. The handling is significantly different on F1 22 versus on F1 ’21, and in general, it’s much more challenging.

Here are some key differences between F1 2021 and F1 22 handling:

  • Traction is much harder on F1 22. It’s much easier to lose the rear end on acceleration (patches have lessened this a bit, but it’s still harder than F1 2021). You’ll need to spend some time getting used to it if you’re used to F1 2021 handling.
  • Overall, the cars on F1 22 are a bit slower, more sluggish and understeery (especially after 1.06/1.07 updates).
  • Cars feel a bit heavier overall.
  • Lap times are a bit slower (but not a lot)

However, despite saying all this, I will add that in terms of the general way to car feels when cornering, I don’t personally feel a massive difference in cornering between F1 22 and F1 2021, having played both a lot. The cars have a little less downforce and cornering speed, and are a bit more sluggish, but cornering to me largely feels the same, and the lap times are also comparable between F1 22 and 2021 (a little bit slower on ’22, but not by a lot).

It’s fair to say that the cars on each game generate roughly similar lap times, but just in different ways, with more focus on aerodynamic performance from the wings on F1 2021, and more on ground effect downforce (under the car) and tyre grip on F1 22. But in terms of cornering and downforce, they’re not a million miles apart to me at least.

However, what has changed is the traction, which is much more difficult to control on F1 22, and you need to be ready to put some serious hours in to learn it if you’re using Medium or No Traction control, or else switch back to Full TC and optimize that instead.

There are also some controller settings changes you can make on F1 22 out the box, to make it easier to control with the new handling. See our guide which covers this for people struggling to get used to F1 22 versus F1 2021.

But overall, F1 22 is not a pick up and play out the box kind of title. You will need to put some serious time into getting used to the new handling. See the official developer diary on handling for more tips on this.

F1 22 Handling Changes Post 1.06/1.07 Patches

F1 22 vs F1 2021 For AI Behavior & Difficulty

This is another really noticeable difference between F1 22 and F1 2021, and in my opinion, not an improvement. The AI on F1 22 are much more aggressive and difficult to beat than on F1 2021, but not in a good way.

First of all, whatever difficulty you were running on F1 2021, be prepared to potentially have to knock it down 10-20 clicks or even more. The general difficulty level and speed of the AI is much harder on F1 22.

This was already the case on game release, but seems to have been made even harder by the 1.06/1.07 patches, which seems to have inadvertently made the AI even faster on straights.

And secondly, the general aggression levels of the AI are also much higher on F1 22. I don’t remember them being like this so much on F1 2021. They’ve been stepped up in aggression on F1 22, but in my opinion, it’s not an improvement. They’re too aggressive and annoying to race against now.

Here’s some irritating things the AI do on F1 22:

  • They have insanely over-powered straight line speed that can be very hard to fight against, even using ERS.
  • They try constant overtakes every single corner, even where it makes no sense, wouldn’t happen in real life and can only cause an accident.
  • They sometimes just barge into you even if you leave plenty of room, and push you off. Or else ram right into the back of you or T-bone you going for a ridiculous dive-bomb overtake that’s never going to work.

See our article on the annoying things about the AI on F1 22 for more on the irritating inconsistency with the difficulty, plus the over-powered aggression which often means racing against them isn’t fun.

If you’re more of an online player, it’s not so much of a big deal. However, if you’re a keen offline player, be ready for some annoying tussles with the over-powered AI, which will hopefully be wound back a bit in future patches.

The AI also have over-powered traction out of corners, and are ridiculously fast in a straight line, often blowing past you on straights in a way that leaves you totally defenseless. And the 1.06/1.07 patches seem to have made this worse, not better. Therefore if you use the AI difficulty level you’re used to on F1 2021 on F1 22, you’re likely to get destroyed. Be ready to adjust downwards if necessary. Also, EA/Codemasters have made us aware that they’re now aware of the AI straight line speed issue, and will work on patching it at some point.

But overall, the AI are not great so far on F1 22, and in honesty, I found them better to race against on F1 2021. They’ve gone too aggressive in how they’ve coded them this year, but hopefully, it’ll get balanced with updates.

What New Features Are There On F1 22 vs F1 2021?

The good news here is that you’re really not missing out on much in terms of the two main new heavily promoted features on F1 22 that aren’t in F1 2021. The two main additions are complete non stories as far as I’m concerned:

F1 Life – A new feature on F1 22 that allows you to customize your player avatar character with clothing, accessories, cars etc. as you accumulate tokens and unlock more stuff. The F1 Life thing is just there in the background as you load the game’s main menu, and you can go into it at any time to customize and spend tokens to get new stuff (see here for a tour of the feature). Everyone’s different, but for me this is a total waste of time and adds nothing really to the game. It’s just more “live the life” fantasy stuff and doesn’t add any real value. EA/Codemasters should focus on getting the core game working properly instead of adding pointless additional modes and features that don’t improve the racing experience.

Supercars – Linked to the F1 Life stuff, there’s the ability to unlock sports cars to put in your “garage” and also you can drive them in offline modes, and you can participate in supercar challenges before most career mode races to gain extra Acclaim. Again, there are different opinions on this, but for me, this also adds nothing. This is an F1 game so the focus should be on F1 cars. Supercars belong in a different game, not this one.

New Tracks and Track Layouts – There’s the new Miami circuit, plus altered versions of 3 existing tracks (Spain, Australia, Abu Dhabi). See the section below where we cover these in detail – they’re good additions!

Online Multiplayer – The standard multiplayer works pretty much the same (see below), but a new Crossplay version has also been introduced (cross-platform play – where players on different platforms (PC/Playstation/Xbox) can play against each other in the same lobbies). I have to say my initial hopes weren’t high on this given how unstable and glitchy the same-platform online multiplayer has been on the F1 games recently. Early testing seemed positive, but as more people tried it out on the beta version, problems became apparent. It’s nowhere near ready to be fully rolled out yet, so Crossplay can’t be plugged as bonus yet, because it doesn’t work properly.

F1 22 Crossplay stability problems (August 2022 beta-testing release)

 

Editor The video above has some really intelligent, well thought out discussion that EA and Codemasters should watch and take feedback from if they ever read this.

Crossplay update September 2022 – I’ve spent the last few days trying it out after full release, and it’s still a total mess on PS4 at least, with constant lagging and huge screen freezes and frame rate drops, especially when lots of cars are close together like at race starts. Unless you’re the most casual of racers that really isn’t bothered by these things, it’s not usable. If you’re a serious or semi-serious racer, it’s advised to disable Crossplay and just play with people from the same platform only in online lobbies.

And then here’s a quick list of what’s NOT in F1 22 that was in F1 2021:

  • Braking Point mode (but wasn’t really that popular anyway)
  • China track (may come as free update on F1 22 at some point – Portugal has just been added in 1.07 patch)

What’s Pretty Much The Same on F1 22 vs F1 2021?

There are some features that have ported over from F1 2021 to F1 22 pretty much unchanged:

Career Mode – Both the My Team and standard Driver career are, as best I can tell, pretty much identical on both F1 22 and F1 2021. The general way it works, menu structure, R&D format and development tree, and TV presentation style, are all pretty much the same. The My Team mode works exactly the same as ’21, where you create your own team, customize car, livery and driver, and manage financial and commercial aspects like funding, media, PR and resource allocation, and also drive a car and do the races. However, one crucial difference is on F1 22, you can now choose between Newcomer, Midfield Contender and Championship Contender for where your new team and car enter the general pecking order, so you don’t have to start right near the back in terms of competitiveness now if you don’t want to. You can start with a bit more resources and speed in the car on the midfield or championship options.

 

The standard driver career is more stripped down and no nonsense, where you just drive the car and select R&D upgrades, but the rest of the team operation is handled for you. But both modes are largely the same between F1 22 and F1 2021 – I can’t see much difference at all.

Online Mode – Again pretty much the same menu structure and format – you can go in ranked lobbies or create custom social lobbies or pick from a list of open lobbies and join, filtering available lobbies by region, style of play, race length etc. And yes, both F1 22 and F1 2021 both have bugs and glitches in the online mode, as well as the usual problem of carnage in lobbies with idiotic racers. See here for our guide on the best settings to use in online lobbies to limit these problems, but it’s about the same between F1 22 and F1 2021, not any better or worse between the two. But there won’t be many people racing F1 2021 anymore – most hardcore F1 gamers do tend to upgrade to the newest game. So if you want a decent amount of players to race online against, you’ll need F1 22.

The Crossplay online feature was covered in the section above. Bottom line – it’s too unstable and nowhere near ready to be fully rolled out yet.

Car Setups – Work pretty much the same using the same general settings as F1 2021, but one key difference is that wings now run from 0-50 front and rear, rather than 1-11, for more nuance and customization in the aerodynamics between tracks. But the rest is pretty much the same as F1 2021 (Differential, Camber/Toe, Suspension/Ride Height, Brakes, Tyre Pressures). However, be aware that since the 1.06/1.07 update on F1 22, tyre temperatures are now much more sensitive according to the tyre pressures you run. You need to run much lower pressures or you get chronic understeer. But other than that, it’s largely the same.

However, despite the same setup model, actual car setups won’t carry over great from F1 2021 into F1 22. See the SimRacingSetups YouTube channel for an excellent resource guide on the F1 games, including setup guides for all tracks pre and post the 1.06/1.07 updates

New Tracks & Track Layouts On F1 22 Compared To F1 2021

This is a change on the new F1 22 game versus ’21 that’s 100% positive in my opinion, and a real selling point to justify upgrading if you’re on the fence still.

There’s the new Miami track, plus 3 altered layouts at Spain, Melbourne and Abu Dhabi – and they’re all great fun to drive!

Let’s look at the whole new Miami track first. Here’s the layout (credit – GabrielStella, Wikimedia Commons):

Plus the official game hot lap video:

 

It’s been well received and I totally agree that it’s a great track to drive. It has it’s own unique flow and corner sequences (both high speed and slow/technical), plus two long DRS straights for overtaking, and it’s a 100% positive new addition to the game. I love racing the Miami circuit.

And then you’ve got three altered existing circuits at Spain, Melbourne and Abu Dhabi, that were actually changed last year but couldn’t be incorporated into the F1 2021 game because of time constraints.

Here’s a summary of how the layouts have changed:

  • Spain – Turn 10 left hairpin after second DRS zone widened.
  • Australia – Turns 9/10 chicane removed (all of sector 2 now flat out), turns 3, 6, 13, 15 widened
  • Abu Dhabi – Chicane sections at end of sectors 1 & 2 both replaced with long left looping hairpins, last few corners widened so you can take them at higher speed

See our full illustrated guide which covers all these tracks changes in more detail, with hot lap videos of the new layouts as well.

And again, I think all three of these changes are positive – all 3 tracks are more high speed, flowing and more fun to drive. Annoying chicanes or fiddly 90 degree corners have been replaced with more open corners that make for more fun racing. Spain and Abu Dhabi in particular I had got bored with before but I think the track changes have brought them back to life and made them more fun to race on, so I think these updates are really good on F1 22 and are a good reason to switch over from ’21.

As regards the rest of the tracks, they do largely port over unchanged from F1 2021 to ’22 – here is a list of unchanged tracks:

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Imola, Portugal (just dropped in 1.07 patch, not available in career mode yet), Monaco, Baku, Canada, Austria, Britain, France, Hungary, Spa, Zandvoort, Monza, Singapore, Japan, USA, Mexico, Brazil.

China is NOT yet in F1 22, but is expected to drop as free DLC at a later date.

F1 22 vs F1 2021 Summary – Is It Worth Switching Over To F1 22?

Let’s bring together everything we’ve covered into a simple bottom line answer as to what’s really different in F1 22 versus F1 2021 and whether it’s worth upgrading if you’re still unsure:

F1 22 – If you want the (very fun to drive) new tracks (1 brand new plus 3 updated), plus all the up to date drivers and teams, and are prepared for a bit of a learning curve in getting used to the new, more difficult handling model on F1 22, and can deal with the very aggressive and over-powered AI, then F1 22 is worth getting versus F1 2021. Be ready for harder traction and overall AI difficulty, plus more “understeery” handling though compared to F1 2021.

F1 2021 – Otherwise, if you’re still having fun offline on F1 2021, and aren’t in the mood for any major handling upheavals, then F1 2021 can still be a great option to stick with. With 18 identical tracks to F1 22, almost identical career modes, and better behaved and more balanced AI, it’s still got a lot going for it. If you’re not a stickler for 100% realism in terms of up-to-date calendar, teams, drivers etc, it’s still a great game and now much cheaper than the still-pricey F1 22.

Checking Current Pricing For F1 22

We’ve put links to the F1 22 game on various retailers for you to check current prices (some links are affiliate links):

  • Click here to check current price on Amazon (UK/US/EU/CAN/AUS users)
  • Click here to check current price on 365games.co.uk (UK users)
  • Click here to check current price on The Game Collection (UK)
  • Click here to check current price on ShopTo.net (UK)

Some More Content on F1 22

Here’s some other articles we’ve posted on the F1 22 game, giving you more of a detailed insight on some major issues like handling, traction, AI difficulty and track layouts:

Oliver

Online gamer and general home networking enthusiast. I like to create articles to help people solve common home networking problems.

Recent Posts