Test Your Vettel: F1 2012 Demo

F1 2012 is out soon and a brief spin around the included track, Monza, confirmed what I had predicted. These are cars that look like stasis chambers with wheels and they mostly try to go as fast as they can. Sometimes it’s necessary to go slightly less fast but the cars hate that and would rather explode off the track. You are not a car though, you are a man in a car and you do not want to explode off the track if it can be avoided. I have no idea if Formula One cars are supposed to handle like they do in the game, or whether they were considerably better or worse in last year’s offering, but you could try the demo for yourself and see how it feels, or watch the trailer below instead.



  1. Danne says:

    Was about to ask if this bit shouldn’t be about F1 2013, as F1 2012 was obviously released last year. Damn you EA Sports and your indoctrination of that obscure concept of naming your sport games!

    • SooSiaal says:

      Since this is about the season that started this year, the title fits perfectly.

    • ascagnel says:

      Technically, EA is correct if you go by the year in which a season has its championship — their last Baseball game was for the 2005 season, and had that year.

      The exception of this is FIFA, unless you count most of the championships being in the spring?

  2. somerandomname says:

    When presented with the bug that Grosjean kept crashing into the player on lap 1, Codemasters said, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”

    • Brilhasti says:

      Sacre bleu!

    • ascagnel says:

      When presented with the bug that Maldonado kept crashing into the player on every lap, Codemasters said, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”

  3. P7uen says:

    After Silverstone there is a boss fight against Schumacher that is unwinnable unless you poured all your XP into Tyres. Waiting for Steam sale.

    • Optimaximal says:

      I heard if you turn the game off at that point and wait till the end of the season, he retires & you have to face Lewis Hamilton instead!


  4. Persus-9 says:

    What funny noses the cars have these days. Not exactly pretty are they?

    • Optimaximal says:

      The McLaren & Marussia cars still look vaguely okay.

      • milman says:

        I think McLaren gave up on the pretty nose after a few races and followed everyone else, look’s like the game didn’t update it.

        • ItalianPodge says:

          No McLaren still run the curved nose, they don’t need the step as their car runs lower than most other F1 cars. This gives them less configuration options but allowed them to continue the aerodynamic work of previous seasons, with aero so important right now it looks to have been a good move.

          • milman says:

            The “duck bill” McLaren are running is definitely less pronounced than the other cars, but it’s vastly different from what they ran in the first few races (and what’s present in the trailer). It’s getting uglier and more pronounced with every major update.

    • SimulatedMan says:

      That is due to a rule change meant to prevent the noses from being at the same height as the drivers’ heads in the event of a side-on collision. Not much help in the case of flying frenchmen/swiss(-men?) though.
      The Marussia has the stepped nose as well. Only the McLaren escaped. Which makes them objectively the best team (from my subjective point of view).

  5. Llewyn says:

    A demo! How quaint. I might actually buy this version, or more likely discover that it won’t run on my ageing PC…

    I’m pretty sure that Codemasters have claimed that licensing restrictions prevented them from releasing demos for the previous two iterations.

    • ascagnel says:

      They’ve openly said it was time — now that they have most of the work done from the previous iteration, they have enough schedule to put out a demo before the game is useless (read: the season ends).

  6. Screamer says:

    The headline really wouldn’t make sense if Coulthard said it! :D

    • Llewyn says:

      Hasn’t he stopped doing that now he has no Brundle to irritate?

      • Screamer says:

        You know, now that I think about it, I think he might have!

      • Lambchops says:

        I miss the Brundle Coulthard combo. Not quite up there with Parish and Cox on the Moto GP but still were very entertaining.

        • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

          Argh, never! Parish and Cox are as much of an embarrassment as the rest of the BBC MotoGP coverage – no information, no clue. Watch Toby Moody, Julian Ryder and Neil Spalding on Eurosport – three people who actually know what they’re talking about.

          That said Parish and Cox they are better than the abject prats the BBC has doing Moto2 and Moto3. It’s like somebody cloned James Allen, twice.

          Also – I’m beginning to appreciate how much of a self-important prat Martin Brundle is. Schumacher was faster than you when you were team-mates, get over it.

  7. JiminyJickers says:

    I tried the demo and I can’t see a difference between F1 2011 and F1 2012, it seems to play exactly the same.

    I will wait for 2013 or 2014 before I buy the next one.

    • ascagnel says:

      The big item this year is the handling, and last year’s was tires. You’ll only really feel it on the higher difficulties, and won’t see much of any visual difference, beyond maybe tire wear patterns. They got the feeling of the cars being still and planted at high speed but squirrely under breaking and in low-speed corners.

  8. vandinz says:

    I bought both previous versions but I can’t see me getting this one, the differences are minimal at best. I may be wrong and getting later at a lower price but I ain’t paying full whack for it.

  9. Tritagonist says:

    It’s quite amazing how much work apparently goes into such little change. The models were obviously updated from last year, and a track was made – but we had more detailed cars in the Grand Prix 4 days made by amateurs… for free – and that was ten years ago! Heck, they often included track specific changes. Not really impressed by this.

    Codemasters has made it clear they are not aiming for the serious simracing crowd, which makes sense from a business perspective, but it does result in a driving model that I consider to be more suited to the fictitious races of DiRT or GRID, not a real world ‘pinnacle of motor racing’ world championship series. Oh well.

    • milman says:

      I actually really enjoyed what Codemasters came up with for 2010, but i’m just an average joe who has never played any sort of simracer. I enjoyed Grid but hated Dirt.
      I have been craving an easy access F1 game ever since I killed my first N64 with endless laps on F1 World Championship and to be fair they delivered exactly that, I wasn’t interested in the craptastic AI or the silly press conference stuff, all I wanted was something I could jump into and attack my own lap times or leader boards with nothing more than a gamepad to do it. I got everything I needed.

      Plus any game that can cause my neck muscles to go into distress through absolute concentration (damn you Monaco) and make me hate a specific pile of bricks and mortar in Canada (how I loathe you Montreal) is doing something right.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      I’m downloading the demo now to have a look, but I did have a go on F1 2010 and thought it was pretty good fun. It’s clearly not trying to be Grand Prix Legends, but I thought it nailed the Gran Turismo-esque console ‘sim-lite’ thing pretty well – it’s crap on a wheel but play it on a gamepad and it’s entertaining. F1’s the most popular racing series in the world and they want to sell lots of copies – for 98% of the people who want to play an F1 game, F1 2010 appeared to me to be perfect.

  10. Lt. Leslie says:

    I haven’t played a racing simulation since “Indycar racing 1” by Papyrus (and a little bit CMR3). Is anybody old enough to compare Indycar Racing with the Formula1 games by Codemasters (i.e. how arcadesque is it?)?

    • ascagnel says:

      I can’t really compare the games, but F1 with assists is perfectly drivable if you’re a fan of Grid.

      As for IndyCar vs F1, Indy is a spec series (everyone uses the same car and can’t make body changes beyond minor adjustments) while F1 is a bespoke series (every team builds their cars from scratch).

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      I’m old enough!

      It actually compares pretty closely. Just had a muck around on the demo with a Logitech GT Pro and then with a gamepad, and like the previous ones it’s very much a semi/pseudo-sim by modern standards (which isn’t a bad thing). It doesn’t really model weight transfer so it’s basically impossible to unsettle the car under any circumstances – it goes where you point it unless you’re going too fast for a corner in which case you’ll run wide, but the car won’t do anything awkward. If you’ve got a FFB wheel plugged in and are expecting Grand Prix Legends then it won’t cut the mustard, but the handling in F1 2012 is, like Gran Turismo, perfect for keyboards/gamepads, as the old Papyrus Indycar titles were. The dynamics of the cars are probably modeled better in the (legendary) ICR2 engine than in F1 2012, but they both arrive at a similar point of ‘as much sim as you want without a wheel’, I’d imagine – driving F1 2012 on a gamepad with all assists off is certainly no harder than ICR2.

      That being said, if you want to play a sim with a gamepad, the SimBin titles are much better than this. If you get one of the Race games and turn the assists on it’s entirely playable with a gamepad, and gives you a much better sense of a car moving around underneath you than F1 2012 does with a pad.

      Then again, WTCC isn’t F1, and it’s perfectly reasonable to specifically want an F1 game. All of the ‘polish’ (the out-of-car stuff which, again, would get right on your nerves in a full-beardy sim) really worked quite well in my opinion. If you want to play the “most sim-ish” game you can with a pad/without a wheel then the SimBin Race titles still piss all over this, but if you want a sim-ish open wheeled racer that’s not a million miles away from ICR/2’s difficulty, and if it’s not bugged to hell like previous versions apparently were, then, yeah, I’d imagine F1 2012’d hit the spot pretty well.

      And in finishing, seeing as ICR was the starting point – all hail Papyrus and its blessed offspring.

      • Lt. Leslie says:

        Thx for the info. I was a big fan of the original ICR (which was a big improvement to the old indy 500). I have invested hours in finding the perfect setup for the various tracks back in those days. i don’t think i’m that patient anymore so a good pseudo sim seams to be a good starting point for a comeback to pc racing.

        I don’t think I like playing with a gamepad, so i probably invest into a Logitech Driving Force GT.

        Edit: Just tried the demo with a Logitech F710…how can anyone drive with a device like that?

  11. corevelocity says:

    Seems like as good an opportuniy as any.

    Im working on a formula 1 team managment game like the old Grand Prix World and…too a much lesser extent EA’s Team manager…

    Just a facebook page link to facebook.com and twitter link to twitter.com a at the moment but if your interested go ahead and like and you can have an input on development.

    Its like Foot-To-Ball manager but less feet and balls and more angry little germans.

  12. Khann says:

    Not a fan of the handling model.

    The understeer is completely awful. The cars turn in like a bloody touring car, and then proceeds to understeer right off the track if you try to go anything like the speed an actual F1 car would go through a corner. This video illustrates the issue quite well.

    The brakes are also terrible. Having to brake 50-75m before I should actually be braking is incredibly annoying, and makes braking in time a complete crapshoot.

    The car takes forever to change direction at low speed as well. In fact, the steering is really slow in general. Try to weave on a straight to warm tyres like a real driver does – note how horribly slow the car moves from side to side. It’s worse than a touring car. These are supposed to be the most advanced racing cars on the planet.

    They seem to have taken even more control away from the player as well. The Abu Dhabi pit exit is entirely automatic, not giving you control back until the car is well and truly moving (there is also a strange bug on pit exit in the demo where the sound stays as if it is on the limiter, even while the car is accelerating).

    You can’t run wide on the track without the game taking control of your throttle and considerably slowing you down, not giving you control of your throttle until you are back on track. I understand the need for this in multiplayer and leaderboard/hotlap situations (though it seems a lazy solution), but for fucks sake, I can’t even run a little wide onto the astroturf in T1 at Abu Dhabi without the game taking control and slowing me down.

    The AI seem somewhat better, but the penalties are still completely fucked.

    A little context for this post: I played 40+ hours in each of the previous F1 games, and (for the most part) enjoyed them. I very much enjoy sim-racing games (netKar, LFS, RACE, GSC2012, etc, etc), though I’m not a hardcore league racer or anything of the sort. I do not enjoy long walks on the beach, and I prefer to eat my dinner by PC monitor light.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      It’s not a ‘sim’. If you’re judging it as per netKar (I’m dreadfully pleased that someone else on RPS got that, by the way) then you’re clearly going to be in for a disappointment – it’s a semi-sim designed to give the impression of having some real-life characteristics when played on a non-specialised piece of input hardware (keyboard, gamepad). Obviously if you plug a FFB wheel in then the holes in the physics modelling are going to show, but people like you and I have netKar etc – I thought F1 2012’s a pretty decent semi-sim for gamepad as far as the handling goes.

      • Khann says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with it not being a proper sim.

        I don’t need advanced tyre/suspension physics, detailed damage modelling, advanced aero, etc etc, but it would be nice if the cars in-game faked their way to being somewhat accurate in their ability to go around corners. As for the slow turning of the cars, it doesn’t even seem to be a physics related thing, just odd controls.

        I did use a gamepad for the majority of my time with the demo, because the force feedback feels really strange.

        I’ve also just read that they’ve removed P2 and P3 from a full weekend, and have removed scaled tyre wear from 25%/50% races. As annoying as the removal of practise sessions is, the removal of scaled tyre wear is a massive issue, especially this season where tyre wear has been such a vital part of the races.

        If anybody doesn’t understand what that means, it means that if you can get 15 laps from a set of option tyres in a 100% race, you can get 15 laps from a set of option tyres in a 25% race. So if you don’t do a full 100% race (and I’m sure many don’t have the time for that), you’ll be 1-stopping every single race.

        Tyre strategy is an immensely important part of F1, and this effectively removes it for anybody not racing 100% distance races.

        Of course, nobody that reviews the game will care about/mention any of the actual issues with the game, Codemasters will make a tonne of money, and the world will go on.

        I know I come across as “internet raging”, but… I just can’t help but be disappointed. F1 2010 (despite the massive amount of bugs) showed so much damn promise. I was excited for CM to have the F1 license. 2011 came around and I enjoyed the game; thought they improved many things. Then they never fixed any of the bugs, and even introduced a few more.

        I had hope these issues would be rectified in 2012, but it seems like none of them are. I would go as far as to say the game is a step backwards from 2011.

        There is some hope though, in the form of Reiza Studios. They made the absolutely fantastic Game Stock Car sim (seriously, they’ve done things with the rFactor engine that I’ve never seen anybody do). Their F1 cars (the Formula Reiza and my favourite, the Formula Classic) are amazingly fun to drive. I seriously recommend checking that sim out if anybody is interested in driving a fantastically well simulated F1 car, new and old. The Mini they just released is a tonne of fun, too. Oh, and they just increased the trial period to 60 minutes.

        They’ll never get the F1 license, but what they do have is the license for an Ayrton Senna game, which they are currently working on.

        I have no doubt that it will be an incredible sim, but I (sadly) know that the “fun” aspect of simulating an F1 career won’t be on par with the more “mainstream” F1 games that have been released.

        I guess ultimately what I really want is Reiza Studios’ simulation to be wrapped in the shiny, fun veneer of Codemasters’ game. Unfortunately any studio that makes a “hardcore” sim is probably never going to have the resources to do anything like that.

        Apologies for the rambling ;)

        • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

          Oh, entirely fair enough – like I said I’ve not spent a great deal of time with the games so I’m not sure about the bugs/development. Yeah, the slow steering does stick out – I kinda linked that in to the gamepad controls whereby you can’t have too much steering sensitivity/speed or you’d never keep it on track, but then I very rarely play racers with a gamepad anyway, so I’m not too well placed to comment – I just thought it seemed to hit the mark for gamepad driving pretty close to Gran Turismo (not that I’ve got much time with that, either).

          I wouldn’t worry, though – I’m still hoping that rF2 does some proper FFB this time around (which it really should – they’re aware of it, it was the glaring stand-out issue of the first). If it does that then ‘official’ motorsports licenses can, collectively, stuff themselves – F1 1991 and GP ’79 for rF2 could be things of absolutely exquisite beauty.

        • ItalianPodge says:

          Have you tried driving the iRacing Williams from 2009? It’s simply fantastic, get some experience driving a Skippy Formula ford type open wheel training car and then step into the Williams, it’s TERRIFYING. In a good way.

  13. DeanLearner says:

    I’ve got to say I’m disappointed at the lack of puns in the comments. :(

    I suggest one of schumacher pun or two to get things going!

    • Thammuz says:

      Oh, you Massa be kidding, give it a Di Resta…

      • DeanLearner says:

        I was worried I shouldn’t have bothered, button second thoughts I am glad I did.

  14. mpk says:

    After trying to play this with m’keyboard last night, I bought a new Xbox gamepad just to get a better experience and am finding the game damn near unplayable. I’d really like to adjust the sensitivity of the sticks so that I can better control the car, but the option doesn’t seem to be unavailable, and I’d really like it I didn’t need to use every single one of the driver aids to even complete a lap. The Monza race start is just a no no – can’t get out of the first chicane without a penalty, can’t make it round the second Lesmo without going onto the gravel… I can finish the race with the keyboard, but the gamepad just disnae work :(

  15. Zib says:

    I had a go with the demo, and I didn’t really like what I saw.

    Menus clearly designed for consoles are unpleasant to use.
    I couldn’t see the graphical options, but I gave up looking quite quickly, because of the slow menus.
    This is kind of something codemasters games have been doing for a while now, you have slow menu transitions, unskippable cutscenes or instructions… I don’t want to wait five minutes to get into a quick race.
    The default controls are a little odd too, but that could be considered personal preference – I guess you’re not really going to get the full experience in a game like this using a keyboard anyway.

    A lot of this is opinion, but I don’t like how it feels like they’ve just dropped an F1 engine into the broad game wrapper of dirt and whatever other games they have.

    I agree with Khann on the driving physics, but at the same time, everything about this game feels like it’s designed to pander to you, and hold your hand. It feels at times like the game is playing you. I didn’t have the patience to get to a race, if there’s even one in there, but I’d be surprised if your average player couldn’t win most races easily on any setting.