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Formula 1

New F1 game’s driver ratings show EA has learned some lessons

by Josh Suttill
4 min read

The upcoming latest official Formula 1 game – F1 2023 – is being released by EA-owned Codemasters this week and the ever-divisive driver ratings have been revealed.

The driver ratings are used in the game’s career mode where players can either drive for an existing team or start their own new 11th team on the grid.

Historically the franchise has come under fire for its driver ratings with many questionable choices – like in F1 2020, where Valtteri Bottas was rated equally to Max Verstappen.

F1 23 Preview Imola Pic 1

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc even remarked during that year that some ratings were “not appropriate and not very well” thought out.

The validity of 2023’s ratings – decided for the second consecutive season by a “panel of experts” that consists of ex-F1 driver turned Sky Sports F1 pundit Anthony Davidson and F1 commentator Alex Jacques – is higher and it’s clear that was a key goal for the developers.

“This year, we have worked closely with our panel of experts to provide a better balance between well-seasoned drivers and those in the early-to-mid stages of their career, especially in terms of their experience rating,” F1 brand director at Codemasters John Merchant said.

“As ever we will be updating the driver stats throughout the F1 season to ensure that the game stays fully calibrated with the sport all the way through the season.”

It’s chosen to give Max Verstappen the highest overall rating with a score of 94, two ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso who are in joint second.

This is a valid enough opinion, but it does point to a consistent flaw in the ratings over the previous few years – drivers’ ratings will improve/decline based on the performance of their machinery.

Aston’s leap up the pecking order has resulted in Alonso jumping from the sixth-highest-rated driver to the second, with an increase of three to his overall rating. There’s no doubt that Alonso is performing well this year – but it’s incredibly hard to argue he’s taken that kind of leap versus his solid 2022 season with Alpine.

F1 23 Preview Hungary Pic 2

There are four individual elements that make up the overall rating – experience, racecraft, awareness and pace.

The experience rating continues to be slightly baffling despite some focus placed there, with 2023 rookie Oscar Piastri given a higher experience rating than second-year driver Zhou Guanyu and third-year driver Yuki Tsunoda.

Likewise pace, where both Hamilton and Leclerc have had reductions to their ratings – with the latter’s being reduced by five.

Verstappen tops the ‘racecraft’ rating and it’s not hard to see why. What’s more surprising is once again the bias towards the drivers in the quicker cars. Both Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg are known to be gritty defenders but neither scores higher than two of the 2023 rookie trio.

F1 23 Preview Bahrain Pic 3

The ‘awareness’ rating previously confused fans but it’s now been better defined as reflecting how many penalties the drivers have picked up recently – hence why Pierre Gasly, who was at risk of a race ban earlier this year, has one of the lowest awareness ratings.

It’s all of course just opinion. Some may feel Lando Norris is too highly-rated, others may feel those further down the pecking order are overlooked. For example, Zhou has matched Valtteri Bottas for much of 2023 but he’s rated nine points fewer than him.

Ultimately opinion is all that it is. EA has done a decent job of addressing some of the inconsistencies.

There’s clearly been an effort to improve things but there are still some weaknesses – even putting opinion to one side – in the logic of the ratings and the in-season updates should seek to rectify them for a more realistic and enjoyable experience.

Even if this is ultimately a fairly inconsequential part of the official game, you sometimes can’t help but feel invested in the accuracy of it as it acts as the introduction to F1 for thousands of new players every year.

F1 23 ratings in full

Driver Experience Racecraft Awareness Pace Overall rating
Max Verstappen 84 97 85 95 94
Lewis Hamilton 97 94 94 90 92
Fernando Alonso 99 91 78 93 92
Charles Leclerc 77 92 85 90 89
Sergio Perez 91 93 86 87 89
Lando Norris 76 91 79 91 89
Carlos Sainz Jr. 84 92 81 87 88
George Russell 76 87 83 91 88
Valtteri Bottas 88 86 97 86 87
Esteban Ocon 77 92 76 86 86
Pierre Gasly 78 89 76 85 85
Lance Stroll 79 91 78 81 84
Alexander Albon 75 81 78 86 83
Yuki Tsunoda 69 79 75 87 83
Kevin Magnussen 81 79 85 82 81
Nico Hulkenberg 86 79 81 80 80
Zhou Guanyu 63 78 74 81 78
Oscar Piastri 74 73 79 77 74
Logan Sargeant 48 84 75 67 71
Nyck de Vries 50 84 75 67 71


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