Not every Formula 1 weekend can be as exciting as the Spanish GP was last Sunday, starting with the two pack-leading Mercedes drivers taking each other out on the first lap, and ending with 18-year-old Max Verstappen as the youngest-ever grand prix winner in history. As tense as it was on the track, what the cameras weren’t catching were the team managers, owners, engineers and race strategists sweating bullets and gnawing their fingernails to the bone.
It’s too bad the closest the average fan can get to the off-camera excitement is in the virtual sense, because even Codemasters’ F1 franchise has always missed the mark on the off-track action. This is something developers from Playsport in Guildford, England, have rectified with their mobile game, Motorsport Manager for iOS and Android, which was just announced to be heading to PC, Mac and Linux later this year with the help of SEGA.
Using their successful mobile game as a starting line, Motorsport Manager’s unique take on a racing game will be the first of its kind for desktop gaming in 20 years (the last being Grand Prix Manager), approaching the racing world like a strategy game, akin to Total War or Civilization. Throughout the the game’s career mode, your difficulty setting dictates your team’s budget for research and development, which end of the grid you regularly appear on and the severity of team owners’ expectations. From there you can build up your team headquarters and pick development paths. As with real-world F1 teams, some have better reputations that are more desirable for drivers — this helps you build relationships with drivers and works to your advantage when vying for contracts with other teams.
Once you have your drivers and have researched and developed parts for you car (in a wind tunnel!), the season of just under 20 races begins. You can decide when your drivers pit, how aggressively they drive (watching the race in real time or in fast motion) and gather information to further develop the car. Throughout the season you can vote on regulations and rules, not just for the cars but also the layout of the tracks; you can try to shift things in the favor of your car’s strengths, just another way to gain an upper hand on your rivals.
Motorsport Manager puts you in a position no modern racing game has before: you’re the governing body, team owner, team manager and engineer all rolled into one. If you’re a fan of any sort of racing, but all the politics, constant infighting and contract breaking isn’t going in the direction you’d like, you can craft the racing series you’ve always wanted with Motorsport Manager this September.