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EA Sports F1 24 preview - Yes, it might even give you a reason to actually drive the Williams

Logan Sargeant surpassing Lewis Hamilton's win total here I come.

A Ferrari going up Eau Rouge in EA Sports F1 24.
Image credit: VG247/EA

No matter whether you're a big car nerd who loves playing around with setups, or are just hopping in for a quick race against your mates, how the cars feel to drive in an F1 game is pretty key. After all, what you're hoping for in both cases is to get a taste of the same sensation the likes of Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton enjoys as they sweep through turns and blast down straights.

We recently had a chance to see what EA Sports F1 24, the latest game in Codematers' long-running series, has to offer in this regard, via a hands-off preview. And, at least in theory, the changes sound like they should satisfy both hardcore petrolheads, and those who're mainly in it for the high-speed drama.

During the preview, Codemasters' senior creative director Lee Mather and Casey Ringley - the latter of whom serves as both a senior game designer and vehicle handling lead on the game - talked through F1 24's "EA Sports Dynamic handling model" - a raft of tweaks designed to be a "culmination of several significant updates to the series".

The overall ethos behind how the cars drive in the game is based around blending giving the player more control over influencing how their car feels to drive, while also aiming to provide a more accurate simulation of the "feedback loops" that drivers experience when they hit the track for real. A lot of the changes - such as a new suspension physics system, an improved tyre model that'll make tyre heat and wear more of a factor in how you drive, and increased ability to change up the likes of how your car's recovering energy on the fly - will likely be most interesting to the kinds of people who'll also be really glad to know you can now tweak both suspension heave and roll values individually.

That said, it does sound like they'll have plenty of noticeable impact for those of us who're just interested in driving, with the tyre model for example aiming to allow "each player's driving style to significantly impact tyre performance and wear". So, I'll probably be pitting often, then. While these tweaks are interesting, the changes the team's made to the game's aerodynamics model might be the most consequential of the bunch for folks who aren't into engineering, as they sound like they'll maybe have a bigger impact on making the races as a whole feel more accurate when compared to real life.

As well as making ride height more a key thing to adjust setup-wise, Ringley outlined that "DRS effects [are] now more closely linked to rear wing drag level, giving a natural response when changing downforce levels, and providing subtle differences from team-to-team". So yes, it sounds like you won't be able to escape Red Bull's overpowered DRS in the virtual world now either.

Along similar lines, Ringley also said that more effort's been made to ensure the "real-world characteristics" of each team's car. "Williams, for example, was a strong example of this last year, with their performance at low downforce circuits," he explained, adding: "This year we're already seeing similar differences, with Ferrari looking very efficient at high speeds, Red Bull and McLaren being rocket ships in mid-speed cornering, and those are the kinds of differences you'll be feeling in the cars this year."

We'll have to see how much of a role this actually plays in shaking up the pecking order a bit depending on which track you're at, but between it and the aforementioned ability to switch up how you're harvesting and deploying power unit energy depending on what you want to do strategically in the moment, it sounds like the game's races might feel a lot more dynamic than they have in previous years.

Interestingly, when asked which previous game in the series F1 24's handling feels closest to, Ringley said that "it's tough to compare", before going with F1 2020, adding that he though that was "a great, great balance" and a good "reference point" when it comes to how cars respond to the player. So, if you liked how F1 2020's cars felt to drive, you might be in for a treat this year.


EA Sports F1 24 is set to be released on May 31 for PC, Xbox and PlayStation.

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