F1 23 review: racing rejuvenated or relapsed?


Our detailed review of the new F1 23 game including new features, new circuits and a brand new story mode

F1 23 EA

F1 23 may just be the best grand prix title to date


F1 23 is the most comprehensive and complete grand prix game to date – and the timing of its release is nothing short of impeccable.

There was a lot riding on this issue, given the fact that F1 22 faced such a mixed reception from players over problems with AI, bugs, glitches and the general lack of grip. It looked as if, for a moment, the video game market had missed out on the series’ recent boom in popularity, leaving a key audience starved for their own slice of F1 action.

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But it seems developers took notice, and have produced a game featuring key fixes and new features to cover up its predecessor’s biggest downfalls – for the most part.

A refined handling model is the most obvious change for players who are familiar with the series – incorporating feedback from actual F1 teams to give cars better grip whilst accelerating, braking and cornering. Alongside the usual UI overhaul, there have also been updates and the inclusion of new circuits, colour and lighting (to give a true-to-life experience), alongside the next chapter in the Braking Point story mode and the introduction of F1 World.

It seems as though the voices of race hungry fans have been heard too, with the addition of red flags and an option to choose 35% race distance – both of which should increase the amount of on-track drama.

The result of all these changes, even with the pre-release version we got our hands on, make for a game that feels complete, fun and gives you plenty of F1 action to get stuck into – just as long as you don’t take it too seriously.



F1 23 Handling

An update to car physics and the handling model means drivability is greatly improved


The general drivability of cars within F1 23 is vastly improved. I was easily able to throw Ferrari’s SF-23 into through Spain’s first sector pretty much flat out, with no fear of the rear end letting loose at any given moment if I so much as sneezed on a kerb. This feat was almost impossible in F1 22 and is the result of a brand new physics model that has allowed cars to keep their realistic and heavy feel while allowing novices like myself to post a semi-competitive lap time.

Higher grip levels on corner exits is also a noticeable addition, allowing me to get early on the throttle and keep battles close through twists and turns instead of simply relying on a DRS boost down the straights. There was the odd moment of random oversteer, but catching it was much easier than it had been before.

Speaking of battles, there has been a dramatic increase in the smartness of the AI too, so you can take full advantage of that new-found grip. Instead of rigidly sticking to the racing line and clumsily crashing into your sidepod, your on-track opponents in offline events will now give you racing room whilst still remaining aggressive – making overtaking a rewarding affair.

F1 23 Overtaking and Racing

Overtaking is back!


Of course, there were moments of panic while racing wheel-to-wheel through Eau Rouge and Copse corner, but to my surprise both cars usually made it through unharmed and my underwear remained (mostly) dry.

I spent the majority of my time racing with a wheel and pedals, but in an effort to make the game as inclusive as possible, developers have also included new features for controller players – Precision Drive being the most noticeable. In my experience, it felt only slightly more clunky and slightly less precise than my usual set up – costing a few tenths in lap time – but for the casual player, cars feel just as alive and dangerous while remaining easy to drive on the sticks.

Overall, the improved handling is perhaps my favourite feature of F1 23 and, unlike its predecessor, entices me to keep getting back in the virtual driving seat.


Braking Point 2

Konnersport EA F1 23

Players race as Aiden Jackson and Devon Baker for Konnersport in the latest instalment of Braking Point


Braking Point 2 is EA and Codemaster’s second attempt at a playable F1 story mode, following on from the events of Braking Point in F1 2021 and the story of F1 prodigies Aiden Jackson and Devon Butler.

Admittedly, I’ve never really been one for story modes or campaigns – spending most of my time online or in two-player careers. But Braking Point almost had me hooked from the very first cut scene – which is not only graphically stunning but also gives off a Drive to Survive feel.

The story itself only spans 17 chapters, but puts you in numerous challenging situations while racing and operating as the Konnersport Racing Team – a fictional eleventh team on the grid. Of course, in the name of entertainment, real-life events such as debriefs or press conferences have been a little over-dramatised. You might raise a few eyebrows when team-mates rip into each other during interviews.

But to its credit, the storyline does have a few unexpected twists and turns to keep you on your toes and with different difficulties available. It’s a challenging and enjoyable experience for players at every level.


F1 World

EA F1 23 F1 World

F1 World: a new all-in-one experience for F1 fans


Acting as the successor to F1 Life, an almost pointless addition to F1 22F1 World aims to integrate almost every part of your personal racing career on F1 23 into one connected and online experience.

Players can now compete in time trials, individual grands prix, online races and specialised events to earn rewards which can then be used to upgrade their own F1 World car and personnel. During the reveal, this quickly drew comparisons to FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode, but it’s a little more complicated than that – making it less appealing for casual gamers but still critically not worth the time of more regular players.

Completing events is also annoyingly easy – with the first three races having track limits disabled – and in turn give you little reward, either in the form of cash, insight or data.

At the very least, F1 World‘s evolving gameplay gives you an excuse to keep coming back as developers add daily, weekly and seasonal events, but it seems as if it will only appeal to a small crowd for now, whilst the rest of us focus on our My Careers or play through the latest chapter of Braking Point 2. 


My Career, My Team and online racing

EA F1 23 Las Vegas

F1 23 players can hit the track in Las Vegas before the real drivers!


The My Career and My Team game modes are often the most popular in F1 games – giving players a chance to see themselves on the top step of the podium. In F1 23, both modes introduce minor changes to driver ratings and upgrade facilities, but on the whole you can’t help but feel as if they’ve been a little neglected.

Admittedly, racing in both modes is still fun – benefitting from the new handling model, the addition of red flags and the 35% race distance. Each helps to keep racing on your own challenging and fresh, but there are a few rough edges surrounding the new red flag feature.

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At my very first grand prix in Bahrain, the race was stopped almost immediately but for seemingly no reason at all – Fernando Alonso having spun by himself at Turn 10 and causing the trailing field to bunch up. But no cars incurred any damage.

A similar situation happened again in Saudi Arabia, when Lewis Hamilton lost his front wing somewhere through the first sector – usually something a yellow flag would deal with – and once again the red flag was waved. This will very likely be fixed with a quick patch update but I’d recommend turning off red flags for now.

Everything else remains essentially the same as last year’s game modes, with only the addition of new circuits in Las Vegas, Qatar and the option to add Shanghai International Circuit, Circuit Paul Ricard and Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in your second season. There have also been updates to the Catalunya and Red Bull Ring circuits in line with their real life alterations.


Online racing

EA Online F1 23

Racing online in F1 23 is unfortunately similar to its predecessor


As F1 has become more popular, so has the option to race online against players from across the globe in both casual and ranked lobbies. The former is more of a fight to the death as you scramble to the finish line against a grid of opponents with varying motives – some wanting to win and others wanting to cause as much chaos as possible. The latter has become an increasingly common part of the game, but in F1 23 it has seen only minor improvements – retaining its familiar driving rating and ranking system.

In my experience, finding league races was also a problem but this will almost certainly be fixed with a patch very soon.

Overall score and verdict: 8.5/10

At launch, F1 23 is a substantial upgrade over F1 22, which will be made even better when the minor bugs and glitches are ironed out. The drivability of the cars will give even the most novice players the confidence to swing into corners and accelerate hard on exit without spinning out, and the introduction of Braking Point 2 is a great option if you’re looking for a playable version of Netflix’s Drive to Survive. 

But the underdevelopment of the My Career and My Team modes means gameplay could go stale for casual players, and the lack of changes to online gaming means more experienced players will struggle to see the step up.