F1 Manager 2022 is perhaps the most anticipated game in racing this year. From the moment it was announced interest and curiosity have been incredibly high.
We know quite a bit about how immersive F1 Manager aims to be, but the nuts and bolts of the game remain something of a mystery.
We know that drivers from F3 and up, including 2022 reserve drivers like Nico Hulkenberg and Robert Kubica, will be available for players to sign to their team.
But what about the structure that has been so defining for where young drivers end up? What about driver academies??
Motorsport is an expensive business, it always has been. However, the next top young driver is always a desirable commodity for Formula 1 teams.
Given how complex and complicated Formula 1 is, teams have set up driver academies to help guide young drivers both on and off the track.
The most recognisable one is Red Bull's, which regularly provides talent for AlphaTauri and eventually the Red Bull team itself.
Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, and Yuki Tsunoda all came up through that system, and if you watch Formula 2 & 3 you'll see several cars with variations of the Red Bull liveries signifying their young talents.
Being part of an academy doesn't guarantee you a seat in the feeder series, but it does open some doors to taking FP1 sessions and eventually getting into Formula 1. But only some.
You won't see a Red Bull academy driver getting picked up by Haas unless they first leave the Red Bull academy. It's why current F2 champion Oscar Piastri is stuck as a reserve driver for Alpine, his academy.
The question is will this impact who players can sign in F1 Manager?
Keeping the level of realism
So much of what we know so far about F1 Manager is pushing the idea of realism. From different wet racing lines, team orders, and real-life staff there is a push from Frontier to make it as true to life as possible.
In our opinion, that means it should include driver academies. Frontier is yet to confirm this though. And from a recent Reddit thread, it doesn't look like they will any time soon.
It's something we would love to see included in the game though.
It would add a layer of complication to your scouting process if you couldn't just sign Liam Lawson to race at Alfa Romeo because he's a Red Bull driver. Likewise, if you are at AlphaTauri or Red Bull the board should limit you to signing academy drivers and not dipping into the outside pool.
As the regen drivers arrive into F3 a few years into the game they should be split into Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes academies, with a few into Sauber, Alpine, and Haas and then a few remaining independent.
The more detail and depth Frontier can get into F1 Manager the better. Managerial games thrive when they are as true to life as possible, while still allowing for that gaming escapism.
We hope that's the philosophy Frontier is following, and so far it looks very promising.