EA Sports F1 2001
They might sound like a nest of angry wasps on the telly, but up close and personal, Grand Prix cars make a terrifying din. How do we know? Because we recently spent time with the Jordan team during testing at Italy's Monza circuit. In fact, we were there on the day Michael Schumacher careered off the track at high speed, but we were relieved to see the arrogant German walk away unscathed.
So what were we doing rubbing shoulders with the great and good of the Grand Prix circuit? Looking at some bleeding game, obviously. That game was FI 2001, and it was freely available to play in a hospitality suite above the Jordan pits. Juxtaposing a mere game with the real thing was something of a gamble by EA, but one that appears to have paid off, as even at this early stage it appears to be a comprehensive simulation of the sport. And if you don't believe us, ask Jordan driver Ricardo Zonta. The diminutive Brazilian took the seat beside me and proceeded to slew all over the track before sloping off muttering about understeer. However, he later returned, set up the car to his liking, and promptly posted the fastest lap of the day.
You Can Drive My Car
What about the average prole, though? How are they supposed to cope? Thankfully, the game will have 1I different assists, and as producer James Hawkins says: "We're trying to help the player to actually learn to drive the car, so we'll start the car to turn in for example, because people struggle to find the turning in point. Also, at the easiest level in the game, we'll start the car to brake when it reaches a good braking point, because people generally brake too late."
Assists or not, it's definitely a seat-of-the-arse experience. Hawkins says: "I think this game is going to be raved about in the way that Grand Prix Legends was raved about for how good the car feels to drive, and how you can actually equate that to a real car. We have a very mixed audience, obviously, because on one hand we have the guys who play these games because they're the closest they can get to driving these cars. They want simulation racing, for want of better words. And at the high end, with all of the difficulty assists turned off then we pretty much get that."
It's Raining, Men
As for periphery, all the data from this season is being included, along with, perversely, the actual weather conditions of individual races. For instance, it will start raining on the exact same lap it did in the actual race. However, development is due to finish before the season ends, but online updates are promised for those who want to replicate the proceedings exactly.
It's this extreme attention to detail that will appeal to the hardcore Formula One fans. And if the new physics engine can cope with 22 cars on the track at once (unlike the 99 version), then FI 200I could well be a strong contender for pole position in the genre.
Download EA Sports F1 2001
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP