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Formula One video games

Ever since Pole Position in 1983, Formula One has always played a part of the racing genre in video games. Geoff Crammond's 1991 simulation Grand Prix played an integral role in moving Formula One games from arcade games to being full simulations of the sport.

Early roots and arcade games

The roots of Formula One games can be traced back to the 1970s, with arcade games such as Gran Trak 10 which depicted F1-like cars going on a race track.

However, the first successful Formula One game in arcade history was Pole Position, by Namco. In Pole Position, the player has to complete a lap in a certain amount of time in order to qualify for a race at the Fuji racetrack. After qualifying, the player had to face other cars in a championship race. The game was very successful and it spawned an official sequel, Pole Position II, and an unofficial one, Final Lap. After the success of Pole Position, many similar games appeared in arcades (and later ported to home computers) such as TX-1.

During the late 1980s, arcades began being dropped in favour of home computer games. Late successful arcade games can be considered Super Sprint, which uses the top view instead of the rear view of most games, and its sequel Championship Sprint.

Dawn of the home computer era

The first true Formula One racing simulators were Chequered Flag and Geoff Crammond's Formula One Grand Prix (F1GP). Chequered Flag featured fuel depletion and car damage, and a set of several real circuits. Previously, most racing games representing Formula One, such as Accolade's Grand Prix Circuit and Electronic Arts' Ferrari Formula One, had been arcade-style games, but F1GP paid more attention to the physics of the cars, in addition to innovative graphics and accurate rendering of the actual racing tracks. The game, released in 1992, was based on the 1991 season. Over the years, the game had sequels Grand Prixs 2, 3, and 4 (based on 1994, 1998, with a 2000 update, and 2001 respectively).

The F1 official license was also held by Ubisoft and later transferred to Electronic Arts, which created seasonal simulations and also F1 Challenge 1999-2002.

A notable place on PC simulation games is held by Papyrus' Grand Prix Legends, which depicted the 1967 Formula One season instead of the then-current season, like all other contemporaries. It recreates in a very accurate way the physics of the car and the feel of driving a real 1967 Formula One racer: for this, even after many years, it is still considered one of the most realistic games ever made. The game still has a vast popularity among video gamers, with many mods and original circuits being produced.

Console gaming

Beginning from the second part of the 1980s more games were being created for personal computers, which could guarantee an easier and less expensive development.[clarification needed] Most of these games featured racetracks, cars and driver names similar to the real ones, but all modified slightly, since they didn't have official licenses from FIA. Examples of this are Super Monaco GP (and its sequel Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II, which had a license to display only Ayrton Senna's name) or Nigel Mansell's World Championship, but many other less known games had similar features.

The first half of the 1990s saw a growing in popularity of Formula One games, and many software houses began acquiring licences and display most real names and cars, for example Formula One by Domark, which featured most real tracks, drivers and teams.

The 3D graphics revolution started by Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix didn't go unnoticed by the console market: some software houses began developing games in this style like Sega with its Virtua Racing, and later Namco with Ace Driver: Victory Lap (which featured futuristic, F1-like cars).

The first 3D game to feature a full license was Formula 1, developed by Bizarre Creations and released on PlayStation, the first game of the successful Formula One series. Despite the game being a mostly arcade game rather than a simulation, it was very well received; later the series moved towards a more realistic race approach. Other Formula One games released around the same time include EA Sports F1 Series and Nintendo's F-1 World Grand Prix and F-1 World Grand Prix II.

While Formula One games in general are strict reproductions of the sport regardless of gameplay style, Codemasters' F1 Race Stars was the first to bring Mario Kart-style gameplay to the setting, while their official license from FIA (which the company has held since 2009) allowed for the teams (complete with their respective sponsors) and drivers from that year's season to be given a cartoonish makeover.

Modern PC simulators

As the trend towards open source software has increased, developers have realised that many video games users like to add their own features to the games, and many modern PC racing games have become easier to mod. Games such as rFactor, although not primarily a Formula One game, have become somewhat of a development stage. rFactor players can download several mods for various F1 seasons, including "classic" seasons such as 1955 and 1979. The game's makers, Image Space Incorporated, have worked with the BMW Sauber F1 team to introduce a realistic version of both the F1.06 and F1.07.

Sony had held an exclusive license to make Formula One games from 2003 until 2007. Before that it was held by Electronic Arts and before that it was Microprose and the Grand Prix series. It is now held by Codemasters, who have released games based around the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 F1 seasons.


After Formula 1 was released on PlayStation (PS1), F1 games were then taken over by PlayStation 2 (PS2) & Xbox. The first being Formula One 2001 for the PS2, & PS1. In 2002, EA Sports released a video game called F1 Career Challenge for PS2 & Xbox which runs from the 1999-2002 F1 season with all drivers from each season.

In 2003, Grand Prix Challenge was released by Melbourne House and published by Atari. It was well received by critics.[1] Although unknown by the most F1 gaming fans, it was praised for high quality graphics for its time.[2]

After Formula One 06 was released on PS2, Sony Computer Entertainment & Studio Liverpool released a new version for the PlayStation 3 in early 2007 called Formula One Championship Edition. Codemasters has already released a Formula One racing game for the 2010 Formula One season.

Xbox 360

Codemasters after securing the Licence in 2008, created F1 2010 which was released on the Xbox 360 for the first time. This is based on the 2010 season, and features all the official drivers and circuits. The game was released in September 2010, and was also released on the PC and PlayStation 3. A sequel to the game - F1 2011 - was released in September 2011 and was updated to feature the new drivers and circuits in the 2011 Formula One season, upon which the game was based. The game was initially available for Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. In November 2011, a version of the game was released for the handheld, Nintendo 3DS.

PC mods

In most PC racing games like rFactor and Grand Prix 4, players can download Formula One car packs for the game which includes mods from the 2007 & 2008 seasons.


A list of Formula One video games that lists only those uses the F1 name, whether it is licensed by the Formula One Group or just F1 in name; is licensed by racing drivers and teams involved within the series otherwise featuring sprites that resemble a Formula One car in a way to get around licensing, featuring deliberately misspelt driver and team names; is named after a Grand Prix race that appear in the F1 calendar or those that features races that appear in the F1 calendar.

Platforms Release Date Developer / Publisher Formula 1 Season
F-1 [3][4] Arcade 1976 Atari No License
Monza GP [5][6] Arcade 1979 Olympia No License
Monaco GP Arcade, SG-1000 1981 Gremlin Industries / Sega No License
Monte Carlo [7][8] Arcade 1980 Atari No License
Brands Deluxe C64 1983 Alligata No License
Grand Prix [9] C64 1983 MRH No License
Grand Prix [10] C64 1983 C.R. Wright No License
Chequered Flag ZX Spectrum 1983 Steve Kelly No License
Grand Prix [11] C64 1984 Ellis Horwood No License
Grand Prix Manager ZX Spectrum 1984 Silicon Joy No License
F-1 Race NES, Game Boy 1984 Nintendo No License
Scalextric: The Computer Edition [12] C64, Amstrad, ZX Spectrum 1985 Leisure Genius No License
Formula 1 Simulator [13] C64, Commodore 16/Plus4, Amstrad, MSX, ZX Spectrum 1985 Spirit Software/Mastertronic No License
Formula One [14] Amstrad, ZX Spectrum 1985 G.B. Munday and B.P. Wheelhouse/CRL Group No License
Grand Prix [15] C64 1986 Systems Editoriale No License
Grand Prix Simulator C64, Amstrad, ZX Spectrum 1986 Codemasters No License
Home Hungaroring C64 1986 Kerszi No License
Continental Circus Arcade 1987 Taito No License
Final Lap Arcade 1987 Namco No License
F1 Spirit: The Road to Formula 1 [16] MSX 1987 Konami No License
Famicom Grand Prix: F1 Race Famicom Disk System 1987 Nintendo No License
Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix [17] Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad, ZX Spectrum 1987 Martech No License
Grand Prix Circuit PC DOS, Amiga, Amstrad, C64, ZX 1988 Distinctive Software / Accolade No License
Grand Prix Simulator II C64, Amstrad, ZX Spectrum 1988 Oliver Twins / Codemasters No License
F-1 Dream Arcade 1988 Capcom / Romstar No License
F-1 Spirit: 3D Special [18] MSX 1988 Konami No License
Ferrari Formula One [19] PC DOS, Amiga, Amstrad, C64, ZX Spectrum June 1, 1988 Electronic Arts No License
Grand Prix [20] Amstrad, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum 1988 D&H Games No License
Satoru Nakajima: F-1 Hero NES 1988 American Sammy / Varie No License
F1 Manager [21] Amiga, Atari, C64 1989 Simulmondo No License
Tail to Nose: Great Championship [22] Arcade 1989 Video System No License
Super Monaco GP Arcade, Sega Genesis, Amiga, Amstrad, Atari, C64, Sega Game Gear 1989 Sega No License
F-1 Dream PC Engine 1989 NEC Interchannel No License
F-1 Pilot PC Engine 1989 Pack-In-Video No License
F1 Circus PC Engine
September 14, 1990 Nichibutsu No License
Final Lap 2 Arcade 1990 Namco No License
Formula One: Built to Win NES 1990 SETA No License
F1 Circus '91 PC Engine July 21, 1991 Nichibutsu No License
F1 Circus MD Sega Mega Drive December 20, 1991 Micronics No License
Satoru Nakajima F-1 Hero GB World Championship '91 Game Boy December 27, 1991 Varie No License
Formula 1 3D: F1 Manager II [23] C64 1991 Simulmondo No License
Super Grand Prix [24] Amiga, Atari ST 1991 Codemasters No License
F1 Exhaust Note [25] Arcade 1991 Sega 1991
F1 Grand Prix: Satoru Nakajima Sega Genesis 1991 Varie 1991
Fastest 1 Sega Mega Drive 1991 Human Entertainment 1990
Satoru Nakajima F-1 Hero 2 NES 1991 Varie No License
Slicks [26] C64, Amstrad, ZX Spectrum 1991 Oliver Twins / Codemasters No License
Al Unser Jr.'s Turbo Racing NES 1991 Data East No License
Aguri Suzuki F-1 Super Driving SNES 1992 Genki No License
F-1 Grand Prix Part II [27] Arcade 1992 Video System No License
F1 Circus Special: Pole to Win PC Engine June 26, 1992 Nichibutsu No License
F1 Circus '92 PC Engine December 18, 1992 Nichibutsu No License
F-1 Hero MD Sega Mega Drive 1992 Varie 1992
F1 Super License: Nakajima Satoru Sega Genesis 1992 Varie 1992
F1 Pole Position SNES 1992 Human Entertainment 1992
Final Lap 3 Arcade 1992 Namco No License
Grand Prix PC DOS, Atari ST, Amiga 1992 MicroProse, Geoff Crammond No License
Nigel Mansell's World Championship [28] PC DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Sega Genesis, NES, ZX Spectrum 1992 Gremlin Graphics / Gremlin Interactive No License
Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear July 1992 Sega No License
Ferrari Grand Prix Challenge Sega Genesis, Game Boy 1992 System 3 / Acclaim Entertainment No License
Grand Prix Unlimited [29] PC DOS 1992 Accolade 1991
Exhaust Heat SNES 1992 SETA No License
Hungaroring C64 1992 Novotrade No License
Satoru Nakajima F-1 Hero GB '92: The Graded Driver Game Boy 1992 Varie No License
Super F1 Circus SNES July 24, 1992 Nichibutsu No License
Super F1 Circus Limited SNES October 23, 1992 Nichibutsu No License
F1 Hero MD Sega Genesis 1992 Aisystem / Varie No License
F1 Super License: Nakajima Satoru Sega Genesis 1992 Varie 1992
Super F1 Hero SNES December 18, 1992 Varie No License
F-1 Grand Prix Star II [30] Arcade 1993 Jaleco 1992
F1 Super Lap [31] Arcade 1992 Sega 1992
Formula 1 Sensation [32] NES 1993 Konami No License
Formula One PC DOS, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Amiga 1993 Atari / Domark 1993
F1 Pole Position 2 SNES 1993 Human Entertainment 1993
F1-Racer [33] Amiga 1994 F1 Licenceware No License
Final Lap R [34] Arcade 1993 Namco 1993
Gerhard Berger's Formula 1 Quiz [35] C64 1993 Austriasoft
Super F1 Circus 2 SNES July 29, 1993 Nichibutsu No License
F1 Circus CD Mega-CD March 18, 1994 Nichibutsu No License
F1 Super Battle [36][37] Arcade 1994 Jaleco No License
Formula One World Championship: Beyond the Limit Sega Genesis 1994 Sega 1993
Human Grand Prix III: F1 Triple Battle SNES 1994 Human Entertainment 1994
Nakajima Satoru F-1 Hero '94 SNES 1994 Varie No License
Super F1 Circus 3 SNES July 14, 1994 Nichibutsu No License
Grand Prix Manager PC DOS 1995 MicroProse 1995+
F1 World Championship Edition [38] Amiga, Sega Genesis 1995 Peakstar / Domark 1994
F1 Challenge Sega Saturn 1995 Virgin Interactive 1995
Human Grand Prix IV: F1 Dream Battle SNES 1995 Human Entertainment 1995
SD F-1 Grand Prix SNES 1995 Human Entertainment No License
Slipstream Arcade 1995 Capcom No License
Super F1 Circus Gaiden SNES July 7, 1995 Nichibutsu No License
Grand Prix 2 PC DOS August 30, 1996 Geoff Crammond, MicroProse 1994
Grand Prix Manager 2 PC 1996 Edward Grabowski / MicroProse 1996+
F-1 Grand Prix PlayStation 1996 Coconuts No License
Formula One Masters [39] Amiga 1996 Amivision / ESP No License
F1 Manager 96 [40] PC 1996 Software 2000 / EuroPress 1996+
Pole Position Team F1 (Manager) [41] PC 1996 Ascon GmbH / Electronic Arts, Ascon GmbH 1995+
Formula 1 PC, PlayStation September 1996 Bizarre Creations / Psygnosis 1995
Power F1 [42] PC April 1997 Teque London / Eidos 1995
Formula Grand Prix: Team Unei Simulation 2 [43] PlayStation 1997 Coconuts No License
Formula 1 97 PC, PlayStation September 26, 1997 Bizarre Creations / Psygnosis 1997
F1 Pole Position 64 Nintendo 64 October 1997 Human Entertainment / Ubisoft 1996
F1 Racing Simulation [44] PC December 31, 1997 Bizarre Creations / Ubisoft 1996
Prost Grand Prix [45] PC 1998 Visiware / Infogrames, Canal+ 1997
Tactics Formula Sega Saturn 1997 Aki Corporation No License
F-1 World Grand Prix [46] Nintendo 64, Arcade July 27, 1998 Paradigm Entertainment, Video System / Nintendo 1997
Formula Circus PlayStation May 2, 1997 Nichibutsu No License
Johnny Herbert's Grand Prix Championship 1998 [47] PC September 30, 1998 Midas Interactive Entertainment No License
Grand Prix Legends PC October 1998 Papyrus / Sierra Entertainment 1967
Formula 1 98 PlayStation November 30, 1998 Visual Science / Psygnosis 1998
Official Formula One Racing [48] PC 1999 Lankhor / Eidos Interactive 1998
Racing Simulation: Monaco Grand Prix PC, PlayStation, Nintendo 64 June 1999 Ubisoft No License
Grand Prix World (Manager) PC June 1999 Edward Grabowski / Microprose, Hasbro Interactive 1998+
Formula One 99 PC, PlayStation October 1999 Studio 33 / Psygnosis 1999
F1 World Grand Prix [49] PC, PlayStation December 17, 1999 Lankhor / Eidos Interactive 1999
F1 2000 PC, PS March 2000 Visual Science / EA Sports 2000
Grand Prix 3 PC July 28, 2000 Geoff Crammond, MicroProse / Hasbro Interactive 1998
Grand Prix World PC 2000 Edward Grabowski / MicroProse 1998
F-1 World Grand Prix II Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color July 2000 Paradigm Entertainment, Video System / Nintendo 1998
Formula One 2000 PlayStation, Game Boy Color October 6, 2000 Studio 33 / SCE 2000
F1 Manager 2000 [50] PC October 13, 2000 Intelligent Games / EA Sports 2000+
F1 Championship Season 2000 PC, PS, PS2, Xbox, GBC September 2001 Visual Science / EA Sports 2000
F1 World Grand Prix 2000 [51] PC, PlayStation February 21, 2001 Eutechnyx / Eidos Interactive 2000
Formula One 2001 PlayStation, PlayStation 2 May 21, 2001 Sony Studio Liverpool / SCEE 2001
Grand Prix 3 Season 2000 PC August 2001 MicroProse / Atari 2000
F1 2001 PC, PS2, Xbox October 2001 ISI / EA Sports 2001
F1 Manager 2001 [52] PC September 21, 2001 Intelligent Games / EA Sports 2001+
Williams F1 Team Driver [53] PC December 2001 KnowWonder / THQ 2001
F1 2002 PC, PS2, Xbox, GC June 2002 ISI, Magic Pockets / EA Sports 2002
Formula One Arcade PlayStation September, 2002 Studio 33 / SCE 2001
Grand Prix 4 PC September 10, 2002 Geoff Crammond, MicroProse / Infogrames 2001
Formula One 2002 PlayStation 2 November 1, 2002 Sony Studio Liverpool / SCEE 2002
Grand Prix Challenge PlayStation 2 November 21, 2002 Melbourne House, Infogrames / Atari 2002
F1 Challenge '99-'02
(F1 Career Challenge)
(PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube)
May 13, 2003
(June 9, 2003)
ISI / EA Sports
(Visual Science / EA Sports)
Formula One 2003 PlayStation 2 July 11, 2003 Sony Studio Liverpool / SCEE 2003
Formula One 04 PlayStation 2 September 22, 2004 Sony Studio Liverpool / SCEE 2004
F1 Manager Online [54] PC June 2005 F1-TM No License
Formula One 05 PlayStation 2 July 1, 2005 Sony Studio Liverpool / SCEE 2005
F1 Grand Prix PlayStation Portable September 1, 2005 Traveller's Tales / Sony CEE 2005
Formula One 06 PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable July 28, 2006 SCE Studio Liverpool / SCE 2006
Formula One Championship Edition PlayStation 3 December 28, 2006 SCE Studio Liverpool / SCE 2006
F1 2009 Wii, PlayStation Portable November 17, 2009[55] Sumo Digital[56] / Codemasters 2009
iGP Manager [57] PC 2009 iGP Games No License
F1 2010 PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 September 24, 2010 Codemasters / Codemasters 2010[58]
F1 2011 PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360 September 20, 2011 Codemasters / Codemasters 2011
F1 2012 PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 September 18, 2012 Codemasters / Codemasters 2012
F1 Race Stars PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 November 13, 2012 Codemasters / Codemasters 2012
F1 2013 PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 October 4, 2013 Codemasters / Codemasters 2013
F1 2014 PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 October 17, 2014 Codemasters / Codemasters 2014
Cockpit Manager 14 PC April 11, 2014 Cartola Games 2014
F1 2015 PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One July 10, 2015 Codemasters / Codemasters 2015

See also


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  13. ^ "Formula 1 Simulator". Moby Games. 
  14. ^ "Formula One". Moby Games. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "F1 Spirit: The Road to Formula 1". Moby Games. 
  17. ^ "Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix". Retro Games. 
  18. ^ "F1 Spirit: 3D Special". Moby Games. 
  19. ^ "Ferrari Formula One". Moby Games. 
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  24. ^ "Super Grand Prix". Moby Games. 
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  28. ^ "Nigel Mansell's World Championship". Moby Games. 
  29. ^ "Grand Prix Unlimited". Moby Games. 
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  32. ^ "Formula 1 Sensation". Moby Games. 
  33. ^ "F1-Racer". 
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  38. ^ "F1 World Championship Edition". IGN. 
  39. ^ "Formula One Masters". Moby Games. 
  40. ^ "F1 Manager 96". Moby Games. 
  41. ^ "Pole Position". Moby Games. 
  42. ^ "Power F1". Moby Games. 
  43. ^ "Formula Grand Prix: Team Unei Simulation 2". GameFAQs. 
  44. ^ "F1 Racing Simulation". IGN. 
  45. ^ "Prost Grand Prix". Moby Games. 
  46. ^
  47. ^ "Johnny Herbert's Grand Prix Championship 1998". Moby Games. 
  48. ^ "Official Formula One Racing". Moby Games. 
  49. ^ "F1 World Grand Prix". Moby Games. 
  50. ^ "F1 Manager 2000". IGN. 
  51. ^ "F1 World Grand Prix 2000". IGN. 
  52. ^ "F1 Manager 2001". IGN. 
  53. ^ "Williams F1 Team Driver". Gamespot. 
  54. ^ "F1 Team Manager Online". F1-TM. 
  55. ^ "F1 2009 release dates announced". Codemasters. 2009-10-02. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  56. ^ "Sumo Digital is responsible for the PSP & Wii versions.". 
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  58. ^ Barton, Dustin (2009-06-15). "The Unofficial CM/Developer FAQ". Codemasters. Retrieved 2009-03-14.