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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: December 17, 2001
Electronic Arts entered the world of Formula One racing simulations late in the game, but in typical tenacious fashion has been trying to speed to the top of the heap. After having released F1 2000 and F1 Championship Season 2000, displaying a number of critical problems, the company has completed F1 2001 armed with a new 3D engine in the hopes of competing against formidable foes such as Grand Prix 3. But does this new title live up to expectations?
Compared to its predecessors F1 2000 and F1 Championship Season 2000, F1 2001 has evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes. There is support for the latest features of the newest 3D hardware video acceleration cards; an all-new physics and driving model developed with input from the British American Racing Team; improved artificial intelligence; changeable weather; animated pit crews; enhanced driving school training; greater 2001 season authenticity; and revised circuit geometry incorporating the latest track revisions. Taking these alterations together, the improvements seem decidedly minor and incremental.
This fully licensed release contains 11 teams, 22 drivers and 17 tracks from the 2001 season of Formula One racing. A mix of veterans and newer drivers highlight the action, including Juan Pablo Montoya, Kimi Raikonnen, Fernando Alonso, Enrique Bernoldi, Luciano Burti, Michael and Ralf Schumacher, and Jacques Villaneuve. The tracks are amazingly similar to their real-life counterparts, with only some tiny details departing from reality. Having completely up-to-date data from this year’s racing season is a real plus for diehard F1 fans.
You may tweak settings to your heart’s content in F1 2001. The adjustment areas include gears, anti-roll bars, steering lock, weight distribution, brake bias, differential lock, wings, camber, tire pressure, body weight, packers, spring rate, and fast and slow bump and rebound. Indeed, tuning can get so complicated that those unfamiliar with race cars may get lost and frustrated in the process. Each alteration has clearly discernable impacts on your car performance, but the absence of telemetry makes finely tuned adjustments difficult. Without tinkering with your car setup, you will certainly not even be in the running, so your mastery of this element of the game is at least as important as your racing skills.
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