F1 24 Preview: New Career Mode Takes Pole Position

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez stood next to each other in F1 24

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez stood next to each other in F1 24

F1 24 is just around the corner. With less than a week until the Champions Edition releases, we’ve been hands-on with a preview build to put this year's F1 game through its paces.

With an overhauled Career Mode, improved handling model, and new features, F1 24 is shaping up to take the grid by storm.

Racing careers

F1 24's most anticipated new feature is easily the overhauled Career Mode. For the first time in the series, players can "be one of the 20" by racing as an existing driver on the grid.

F1 24 Preview
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Now, players can live out their F1 fantasy as their racing idol. Whether that’s taking Lewis Hamilton to his elusive eighth world championship, or giving Nico Hulkenberg the podium every fan wants to see, there are plenty of F1 stories to live out this year.

Players can once again begin in F2 as either a real or created driver. Custom drivers are also available for those wanting to skip straight to F1 when starting out.

Even the Icons get in on the action, with new arrivals James Hunt and Juan Pablo Montoya joining the likes of Nigel Mansell, Jamie Chadwick, and, of course, Michael Schumacher.

Your starting driver affects your initial standings in the game. For example, beginning your career as a created driver or coming up through F2 will see you struggle to build your reputation at the big table. However, filling the racing boots of Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton sees you start with higher recognition as the leader of the team.

It’s the Driver Recognition mechanic that revolutionizes the Career Mode of F1 24. Building your recognition within the team increases your influence, especially when it comes to car development. The easiest way to build your recognition is by completing objectives set by the team.

These range from qualifying above a specific position or finishing on the podium. Objectives can also be set during a race, such as completing a number of laps without crashing or going off track. Your race engineer may even challenge you to overtake a specific driver within a set number of laps, ramping up the racing action at a moment’s notice.

F1 24 Preview
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Completing objectives will grow your reputation in the team. Increasing your recognition to 50% in the team will win you favor over your teammate, leading to you taking charge of car development. This puts you in the driving seat, improving the car in a way that suits your driving style. You can even develop parts in secret to gain the upper hand come race weekend.

Failing to complete your goals will see your recognition drop, and your teammate will take charge of upgrading the car. This can start a vicious spiral of the car moving further and further away from your preferred style, so you'll need to stay ahead of your objectives in order to stay on top of your team.

Raising your reputation will also draw attention from rival teams, who may try to poach you during a season. Like car development, this can happen in secret, with your reputation directly affecting your bargaining power - something to bear in mind before making unreasonable demands at the negotiating table.

Challenging career

Players who want to experience Career Mode in a more bite-size chunk now have a new option. The new Challenge Career mode takes everything great about Career Mode, this game mode condenses everything into a six-race season.

Challenge Career doesn't let you choose a driver. Instead, drivers and circuits are rotated regularly.

F1 24 Challenge Career
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Each Challenge Career takes place across three episodes, with two races per episode. Some episodes can be retried repeatedly if you fail to achieve the required objective. Others have limited retries, so you have to achieve the highest position you can each time.

In our preview, three-time F1 world champion Max Verstappen was selected driver. Although the season takes place over six races, only the first two were available. These saw us take on the infamous Suzuka and the legendary Imola.

Despite Verstappen being Red Bull’s number-one driver, there was still a relatively even playing field with Sergio Perez. In fact, the Japanese Grand Prix began with Perez completing car development.

F1 24 Driver Accolades
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Challenge Careers also utilizes the new Driver Accolades coming to F1 24. By selecting existing drivers, players are given long-term objectives to complete on top of the recognition objectives. These can range from Verstappen defending his world title to taking Alex Albon to the top step.

Players score points based on their performance in each episode. At the end of the Challenge Career, an overall score is calculated. This is then added to the global leaderboard, with the highest-scoring player being crowned the Challenge Career champion.

The community can vote for which driver and tracks will appear in future Challenge Careers. The most popular will be chosen for future episodes, giving fans a voice for influencing future seasons.

Challenge Career is shaping up to be a great addition to the game. It brings everything great about F1 24’s Career Mode, but in a smaller burst for players who don't have time to complete a full season.

Handling the race

The added pressure of completing objectives mid-race may cause some racers to buckle. Thankfully, F1 24’s new handling model makes catching your rivals easier than ever before.

F1 24 Dynamic Handling
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Developed in collaboration with Max Verstappen, F1 24's new handling is the most authentic yet. Codemasters' "Dynamic Handling" model uses all-new suspension kinematics, an upgraded tyre model, advanced aerodynamic simulation, and new engine and car setup options to give players the best experience.

Whether we were behind the wheel of a Red Bull, or taking on a PREMA in F2, we had the confidence to throw the car into every corner. The back end sometimes felt a little skittish when putting the power back down, but for the most part, cornering felt more instinctive.

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F1 24 F2 Career Mode
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Bringing Verstappen on board to help develop the handling was a bold move from Codemasters, but it seems to have paid off. Despite some corners still punishing minor mistakes, the cars are now far more enjoyable to drive.

From the openness of Silverstone to the restrictiveness of Jeddah, every track can be felt through the wheel by the way the car handles. This meant we could instinctively nail apxes from the feel of the car without relying on the racing line assist.

A promising start

From what we've played in the preview build, F1 24 shows a lot of promise. The overhauled Career Mode, combined with the new Challenge Career, Driver Recognition system, and Driver Accolades give you a lot more to think about while out on track.

F1 24 Preview
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Having objectives to complete provides more motivation when lining up on the grid. The ability to develop the car to suit their style provides the push needed to make those overtakes stick. The impromptu objectives also keep you on your toes as you never know what might be coming your way next.

The preview also introduced us to the new divisive Fanzone mode. Here, players select their favorite F1 driver and team, with every event in F1 World scoring Fan Points for your choices.

These Fan Points contribute to your chosen driver and team’s total score, with the most successful driver and team celebrated at the end of every season. This is not a popularity contest, with lesser-chosen teams and drivers still given a fair chance of winning against the more popular choices.

F1 24 Fanzone
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We encountered a few performance issues, with the preview build stuttering on certain tracks with full 20-car grids.

In particular, races at Yas Marina and Imola suffered noticeable frame hanging on specific corners. As this is just a preview build, these issues will hopefully be fixed in the final build.

F1 24 arrives in the paddock on May 31. Players who have preordered the Champions Edition of the game can get three days of early access, putting them on the grid from May 28.

F1 24 preview
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F1 24 will be released on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Despite the game still coming to last-gen platforms, the visuals look improved from F1 23 last year, with a noticeable audio upgrade too. This is before a promised visual upgrade coming to the game later in 2024.

Are you looking forward to F1 24 next week? Let us know in the comments below!

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