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F1 22

Full Throttle: A journey through F1 22's MyTeam

I've started a team, created a car, and signed a couple of drivers. Now it's time to put theory into practice.

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Over the past couple of years, I've become increasingly more interested in motorsport and simracing, particularly the world of Formula racing. That interest grew significantly last year when the gripping title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen was ongoing, and also when Codemasters served up the frankly brilliant F1 2021. Here, I started to truly explore simracing and understanding the intricacies of how to drive Formula One cars as they are meant to be driven, be that taking into account tyre temperatures and pressures, differential and downforce settings, and of course having the correct setup before going into
parc fermé and a race. But learning all of that came at the cost of learning to drive without racing lines and also without all assists turned off, something I've set my sights on over the past couple of weeks in F1 22, this year's instalment into the series. It hasn't been easy at all, and some tracks and cars are harder to adjust to than others, but the reason behind my desire to push myself is because I've been aiming to properly simulate a MyTeam season, and to see just how good of a principal and driver I really can be in-game. This article series is a bit of a chronicle of my experience, which will undoubtedly be chock full of disasters and failures, but hopefully also the occasional bit of success.

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Starting off of course means creating a team and designing a car and tackling all the other stylistic systems that are necessary before heading to the first Grand Prix of the season. For myself, that meant creating a car with black, white and yellow accents, for the simple reason that I've always associated myself with that colour scheme across other video games, with the inspiration coming from the days of using the wasp emblem in Halo: Reach and matching my armour colour palette to reflect the very same insect that always puts me on edge when one creeps through my window. I like to think it's a similar situation and effect to what bats did for Bruce Wayne.

So, with this being the case, the colour scheme was set, leading me to just slapping on some sponsors that felt right, to give the car that really professional look. Then came designing an emblem (which unfortunately could not be a wasp in F1 22), before creating a driver to stick in the cockpit and lead the team to the promised land when the start lights go out. Truth be told, the emblem, the driver, and the sponsors never really felt that important when compared to the actual designing process of the car and also the naming of the team, which I ended up settling with: MBF Racing, named fittingly after my lead driver and team owner Beanie McBeanFace (hence the MBF initials).

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Next came choosing a main sponsor, a sponsor with a reasonable and plausible goal that can be achieved so that the maximum end of season pay day is guaranteed. And then of course also making sure that the car is outfitted with an engine from one of the four available options. I ended up going with the Mercedes power unit, as I'm hoping the reliability will become a massive help as the season progresses. Finally came choosing a backup driver, and due to the fact that I had access to the Icons pack, I ended up settling with fellow Brit Jenson Button - as the former World Champion has a nice balance of stats and also comes with a reasonable salary - a perfect individual to have backing you up on a race day.

Once this was all locked in came the start of season interview with Will Buxton, where the F1 journalist threw a bunch of unique questions at me, to which I reply with meaningless PR jargon, before being sent to the menu to put in some early development requests, and to choose a secondary sponsor to rake in a little more cash to be able to fund and support my team. Ultimately though, at the start of the season, this all feels like a pointless activity, as there's no real way of knowing how the team and car will fare until landing in Bahrain for the first race of the season.

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Fortunately, it wasn't too long until I started to get some answers as Bahrain came knocking. Taking the car (which I'm going to unofficially name the MBF 01) onto the track for Practice 1, it was clear that the Mercedes power unit and the new era of car design made for a vehicle with a great upside, even if it is significantly slower than the teams and cars at the front of the pack. Practice 1 and the Track Acclimatisation programme went without any problems, as did Practice 2 and the Tyre Management programme, but Practice 3 was the really important one, as it was here that I'd planned to tackle the Qualifying Pace programme, a test that would give a good idea as to where I could find myself on the starting grid in the actual race. I ended up having to do this programme a couple of times, due to a spin throwing off the first result, but the second attempt was far better and showed that the car could deliver 11th on the grid, and higher if I can piece together a better lap. Needless to say, I was quite confident heading into Qualifying, but that confidence ended up being my downfall, as I went deep into Turn 10, and lost over half a second, and ended up finding myself lining up in 21st after all was said and done. Still, the car has potential, and 21st was not where I planned on being when the chequered flag was waved.

Race day came and here it was obvious that the pack (well aside from Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari) was closer than I hoped, as it only took a few corners before I realised that near-perfection would be necessary to get the intended result. But as this was a new car, it became quickly obvious that mistakes were going to happen one way or another, as I found that I still had yet to really understand the limits of what I could put this vehicle through. The occasional lock-up and oversteer out of corners made it increasingly hard to push through the middle-team contenders, and as the race continued to progress, it became clear that while the MBF 01 was superior to the the Williams FW44 and the Aston Martin AMR22, the Haas VF-22, AlphaTauri AT03, and the Alfa Romeo C42 were probably my biggest rivals to face off with right now. The McLaren MCL36 (particularly Lando's one) and the Alpine A522 were challenges to overcome another day.

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Still I kept my head down, pushed lap after lap and did what I could to net the best possible result by the race's end, which ended up being 13th all said and done. Not quite a points finish yet, but after a botched Qualifying and with this being the first time in the cockpit, that's definitely a result that MBF Racing can build on and improve on as we head into Jeddah for Round 2 of the 2022 season.

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