The past week was an eventful one for F1 fans with the release of F1 2017 and the sport’s return. This year’s F1 racer is arguably the best installment in the series yet and offers fans a wealth of content. For those still on the fence, we reviewed the game and have a high opinion of it.
Among the content available in this year’s game are the returning classic cars. Unlike their prior appearance in F1 2013, the classic machines are available in all areas of the game. Introduced to players in the game’s extensive career mode, there are a total of 12 classics up for grabs.
1996 Williams FW18 – Overtake Challenge
We dove into the game’s career mode and following our inability to finish the race in our McLaren — surprise, surprise — we unlocked the first round of invitation events. First up is an Overtake Challenge at Silverstone Short, one of four variants of the season’s locations. The weapon of choice? Williams’ FW18 from the 1996 F1 season.
The V10-powered monster is a blast to drive, even more so when you’re overtaking a litany of other vehicles. Despite the car’s apparent stability the rear end can and will buck with urgency if pushed hard through the corners. With that in mind, the FW18 is surprisingly easy to get along with — much more so than we were expecting.
While the drive is largely incident-free, there are two minor episodes during the event. The first occurred through Stowe while slowing to avoid running into the rear of Michalski’s MP4/6. With no indication of rubbing against the car ahead, surprise settled in following the warning for colliding with the McLaren. This helps illustrate that the game’s hit detection (and corner cutting penalties) are a bit too strict at times.
The second occurs coming out of Turn 3, bumping wheels with Letourneau while attempting to overtake for seventh. We’ll accept blame for this one as we were a little too aggressive in making the move for position. All in all, the opening challenge was rather enjoyable. Even if everything goes wrong on your first outing in the FW18, it’s the perfect excuse to run the event again — a win-win in our book.
2006 Renault R26 – Pursuit Challenge
Next up is the second invitational event, this time a Pursuit Challenge behind the wheel of the Renault R26. While the Overtake Challenge throws players right into the action, Pursuit adds a bit more tension to things. How, you ask? Treated more as a traditional race, Pursuit throws standing starts and manual clutch use into the mix.
We didn’t explore the feature in last year’s game but manual starts are both incredibly engaging and fun. So much so we restarted the event several times just to toy around with the feature some more. A little slow off the line, the R26 more than makes up for lost time with its blistering pace. It’s been a while since going around Suzuka but we haven’t completely forgotten the track’s rhythm.
With four cars ahead, the Renault made short work of its competition a quarter of the way into the second lap. It’s worth acknowledging that while the R26 is superior through Suzuka’s many twists and turns, the McLaren MP4/13 has the straight line advantage. Realizing this, we steered clear of the McLaren until the advantage held true heading down into Turn 1.
The V8-powered Renault is very direct, almost point-and-shoot in nature; it goes where told without question — and fast. Truly a product of its time, the R26 feels stable in just about every situation and never hints at missing a beat. Without question, the Bob Bell-designed chassis stands out as one of our favorites on the classic roster.
The classic cars serve a purpose in F1 2017 and not just that of nostalgia, but as a contrast to the 2017 cars. We can’t wait to dive into the other events. Stay tuned!