The best F1 games

So, you want to be an F1 driver, but have you got the best F1 games?

F1 2021 Game

by Myles Warwood |

Not all of us have the talent to get into F1 and even if we were to have the talent only a small group of that bunch would have the funding. Consider the fact that there are only 10 teams on the F1 grid, and some quick maths tells you there are only 22 race seats available. The chances of us all who want to get into driving an F1 car are very, very slim.

You could of course buy yourself an F1 car, if you wanted – sometimes they come up for sale, most recently the achingly beautiful Jordan 191 of a certain Michael Schumacher sold for £1.25million. If you don’t have that spare change in your pocket, there are cheaper ways to drive an F1 car, though.

We’re of course talking about the world of racing simulator games – over the years there have been many, from Need For Speed, Grand Tourismo, Dirt Rally and Forza Horizon.

There have also been many versions of the official F1 game, made by many different games producers from EA to Codemasters, who currently make the game. But if you want to drive the ultimate driving machine, where can you get that fix? Lucky for you dear reader, you can see below…

F1 2021

F1 2021
©Codemasters

Platform**: Multi**

Let’s start in the most obvious place, the F1 game itself and the most up to date version, however, we wouldn’t say it was the best version. It feels almost identical to F1 2020 and in single races, the robotic competitors will concede any corner you look to overtake on and when they attempt an overtake, they will indicate their move with a mechanical jink beforehand.

If, however, you want to race with the latest machinery and livery with the latest driver line-up then it’s good to stay up to date.

F1 2020

F1 2020
©Codemasters

Platform**: Multi**

We can’t mention why we think you should stick to F1 2020 for driving Formula 1 car without telling you why… The 2020 game makes the cars easier to understand and learn how to drive than that in previous incarnations. Alterations to what the car behaves have been a huge improvement, you have more grip under braking, for example.

If you want to get a feel of what it might be like to drive a modern-day F1 car, then F1 2020 does a fantastic job of capturing that speed, precision and technicality.

iRacing

iRacing
©iRacing

Platform**: PC**

This PC-only sim has been around since 2008 but has now become super popular and is used in some of the most high-profile eSports races. You may think that a 12-year-old sim wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to modern-day alternatives, but you wouldn’t be further from the truth.

iRacing features a rigid online structure where you will race against people of similar abilities. Constant updates keep iRacing relevant and you can even race the Mercedes F1 AMG W12 if you like.

rFactor 2

rFactor 2
©rFactor 2

Platform: PC

The original rFactor was a treasure trove for the modders of the car world, even though it was a 2005 game it was hugely popular all the way up to 2013 when rFactor 2 was released. Huge amounts of user-generated content have continued into rFactor 2, so much so you can pretty much choose a year of F1 history and transport back there. You could be Senna taking on Prost at Suzuka or even have your own Multi 21 moment from the Malaysia Grand Prix 2013.

Make sure you’ve plenty of disk space and that your internet is capable of large downloads because once you get in to the mod sites, you’ll want everything that’s in there.

Assetto Corsa

Assetto Corsa
©Assetto Corsa

Platform: Multi

If you want to repeat the F1 world championships of years gone by then this probably isn’t the game for you. With a large modding scene Assetto Cora has been able to produce a wide array of cars from the pre-war era right up to modern-day machinery.

The core game does provide a handful of circuits from the current F1 calendar and with the help of third-party mods, you can get close to completing a 2021 season in an F1 car.

F1 Race Stars

F1 Race Stars
©Codemasters

Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Do you ever look at F1 and think ‘this needs a few Mario Kart banana skins’? Well, happily for you F1 Race Stars makes that possible. Released in 2012 by Codemasters it features every car and driver from that year plus two additional fictional female drivers.

The circuits are loosely based on circuits on the F1 calendar, very loosely. Silverstone for example is a carton Start / Finish straight but then down through a picture-perfect village before getting snapped by a speed camera and heading through a car factory.

This game brings an element of fun and certainly makes for something more light heated opposed to the super-serious side of F1.

Read More:

The best racing games

The best racing wheels for nailing those podium finishes

Audio for sim racing: your best options

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