F1 22 Miami Grand Prix gameplay!

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New tracks are not easy to create, but Codemasters has a lot of practice now after creating Portimao, Imola, and Jeddah for F1 2021.

Those tracks were praised for their feel and presentation. So when Miami was confirmed for the 2022 Formula 1 season there were high expectations for Codemasters.

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Fans will be happy to learn that they won't have to wait for the Miami Grand Prix. It will be part of F1 22 on launch, and we have been lucky enough to pound around the new circuit in a preview build of F1 22!

Miami Grand Prix first impressions

As expected, the Miami Grand Prix in F1 22 looks the part. Codemasters has created a living, breathing track and surrounding. From the Hard Rock Stadium to the "marina" and even the grandstands, the Miami track feels as it should.

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Building a track that doesn't yet exist is probably the hardest thing to do in racing games, but Codemasters is well-versed in the challenges now. After Vietnam in F1 2020 and Jeddah in F1 2021, this is the third time in three years they have built a track before it is completed and raced on.

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"We obviously need to start a long way out to build a circuit. Even more so when that circuit is in a relatively built-up location." Said Senior Creative Director Lee Mather when we spoke with him about the challenges the circuit presents.

"We did what we normally do with a street circuit which is get as much reference, photography, and top-down views of the area and we start to plot out where we expect the route to be. We knew a significant amount of it but obviously they [F1 & race officials] were still fine-tuning other areas.

The biggest challenge really once we’ve got the route itself is to understand any undulations and height changes in the area. We had an original assumption that it would be relatively flat because of the location […] but there there is actually a lot more than you would expect."

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While Codemasters had the initial plans for the circuit to go from, the rest of the Grand Prix experience is somewhat unknown.

"The big one will obviously be grandstand placement and things like that because they don’t exist yet. So that goes very much off an idea of “this is what the plan is for the circuit, this is where the grandstands should be, this is where the buildings will be, the hoardings, the sponsors will be”. So until we see that [in real life] we won’t know how close we are to the original plan, because as is often the case not everything goes smoothly for everybody."

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How does it drive?

Learning a new circuit while also driving brand-new F1 cars is certainly a challenge!

We'll get onto the cars later, but the track has a feel of the Vietnam final sector or Silverstone's Maggotts/Becketts with plenty of sweeping curves that feel like they could be flat out with the right setup but definitely won't be.

The first sector sees you dive right from the start straight and sweep through corners until you get to a tricky long and tightening left-hander. Think China's 270-degree right-handers, just not quite that tight!

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From there it's a flatout blast before a slow, technical sector that feels like a Monaco/Singapore crossover.

The slow corners are painful in the new cars, especially as the ideal setup for Miami seems to be relatively low downforce.

You twist your way under overpasses and through an awkward chicane, only to be spat out at the main straight which is a good DRS overtaking spot if you've got a tyre advantage.

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Then it's just a hairpin and a few sweeps before you are back at the start/finish line.

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Miami feels fun to drive, but I don't think it will join the likes of COTA or Baku as a modern classic for F1.

The first and third sectors are trying but fun, it's just that middle slow-speed sector that really throws off the rhythm.

The F1 22 cars have a lot more weight and inertia to them, making it a real challenge to muscle them through without the rear of the car getting out of line.

Overall though, Miami is a great track. While we got to race on it through a preview build, we are already looking forward to getting to grips with it fully when F1 22 releases on 1 July.