Management games are all about making the right decision at the right time—that, and clicking the left mouse button—and F1 Manager 2022 is no different. Two of the biggest decisions you can make in F1 2022, a licensed take on being a team principal from Frontier, are which team should employ you, and which drivers you should subsequently employ.
The former basically dictates which difficulty mode you’re playing on. Red Bull: very easy. Williams: New game +++. And the latter, if you pick out a child prodigy and get him on a cheap contract, might turn around the fortunes of a midfield minnow and send you to the podium.
With that in mind, here’s what picking each of the ten teams means for your playthrough, along with the best young drivers you can get to drive your cars.
The best teams in F1 Manager 2022
The pacesetters: Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes
Choose one of these top three teams for an easy life in F1 Manager 2022. Mercedes are lagging slightly behind the other two for pace at the beginning of the season, but all three have much more in the way of finances, starting performance and driver talent than the rest of the grid.
Which of the trio is outright quickest? At the very start of the season before the opening round, it’s probably the Ferrari. Red Bull usually slot into second place, and Mercedes are usually just ahead of the Alfa Romeos in third, or P5 and P6 on the grid.
It’s definitely easier to start winning races and fighting for constructor’s and driver’s championships with these top three teams, but the board and sponsor expectations are really high, too. They’re aware that you already have a fantastic package, and they’re expecting podiums. Regular, immediate podiums.
The midfield: Alpine, Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Haas, Alpha Tauri
Consider this your medium difficulty setting—an office in the headquarters of one of F1’s midfield teams. There’s not much to separate these five teams for performance at the start of the season, but Alfa Romeo and Alpine tend to start with a raw pace advantage over the others.
This pack is also where some of the most romantic potential storylines lie, though. Can you bring a long-awaited third world championship to the veteran Fernando Alonso, at the very team where he won the first two nearly 20 years ago? Are you the managerial visionary who can return McLaren to its winning ways after nearly a decade away from the front? Can you embarrass parent outfit Red Bull by beating them with your Alpha Tauri? As for Haas—well, it’s going to take an awful lot to recover from Nikita Mazepin. Maybe if you win absolutely every round in 2022 people will forget this team once employed him.
The trickiest thing about operating a midfield team is that you need to develop like crazy in order to catch up with the top three teams, but you don’t have as much budget as them to actually design and manufacture parts. It’s therefore essential that you hit every possible sponsor objective, and save money wherever possible—even consider letting go of your current driver talent if they’re on expensive contracts, and spend a few seasons paying rookies a pittance while channelling the extra funds into building a faster car.
The backmarkers: Aston Martin, Williams
Finally, the teams that are pleased just to make it out of Q1. Aston Martin and Williams, both former race winners, the former back when they were called Jordan and the latter throughout the 1970s-2000s, now find themselves at the back and in dire need of development.
These are the real heart-over-head picks. They offer the greatest potential reward—what an achievement it would be to get Williams back to the front! Or to get Vettel a winning car once again, for that matter. But it’s not going to happen overnight. This is a long-haul team pick.
While Aston Martin does at least have some budget for development, Williams is operating on a relative shoestring, and it’s not like you’re even paying for a world champion driver’s salary so there aren’t obvious costs to be cut. You just need to make shrewd decisions, in every aspect of the game from contracts to car upgrades to sponsors, for several seasons.
F1 Manager 2022: best young drivers
Scouting the young driver market is where F1 Manager 2022 takes on a Football Manager-like aspect. Terrible car? Disastrous finances? Just find the next Michael Schumacher from this pool of scowling teenagers and it’ll all be fine.
It is quite a big pool, mind you, so I’ve picked out the drivers not currently in F1 who’ll do you proud and develop into title-hunters. All these drivers have a high potential, meaning they accrue XP at a fast rate when you put them in practice sessions or go all out and give them a race seat. As XP accumulates, you earn points that can be spent on upgrading that driver’s individual stats. Having a high growth rate, then, is absolutely vital.
Oscar Piastri, age 20, 75 OVR, Average Aggressiveness
In reality, Piastri just signed a contract with McLaren for 2023 after some confusion with Alpine, who thought he’d be driving for them. But at the start of F1 Manager 2022, he’s an Alpine test driver and fair game. His 75 overall stat is pretty great for a 20-year-old, and his F2 title speaks for itself.
Jack Doohan, age 19, 72 OVR, 73 Aggressiveness
Son of motorcycle racing legend Mick Doohan, Jack is quite the precocious talent on four wheels. His 72 overall is a real outlier among the database’s teenagers, and he’s a super-aggressive driver too so he won’t be shy about overtaking.
Jack’s perhaps ready for a race seat right away if you’re in charge at one of the lower teams—everywhere from Alpine backwards, really.
Theo Pourchaire, age 18, 71 OVR, 24 Aggressiveness
The man who went front wing to front wing with Piastri all season in his hunt for the F2 title, Pourchaire’s two years younger than his Australian rival and that gives him plenty of time to catch up to his stats.
Theo’s not one for sending mad lunges down the inside in a braking zone, with a low aggressiveness rating, and that means he’ll stay on track for you—but you might have to manage his settings manually to get him moving through the pack in a race. Signed to Ala Romeo as their reserve driver at the start of the game.
Frederik Vesti, age 20, 71 OVR, 79 Aggressiveness
The young Dane is one of the oldest drivers on this list at a stately 20, but his stats are already well developed. If you’re running Williams, you might be tempted to promote him to racing duties right away instead of Latifi or Albon, to give him the maximum chance to earn XP and buff those stats.
Zane Maloney, age 18, 64 OVR, 39 Aggressiveness
Zane’s 64 overall isn’t turning heads in this list next to such illustrious company, but the lad is only 18 and the F3 driver already has tons of racecraft. He’s not one to bring up to F1 right away, but get him in a reserve role early and you could save millions on his contract. Just make sure you’re giving him practice sessions to earn some experience.
Olivier Bearman, age 16, 65 OVR high Aggressiveness
Finally, little Olivier Bearman. Only 16 years old! I was barely holding down a spot in set 2 history at that age, and he’s competing in F3. Again, 65 isn’t a prodigious overall rating at first glance, but if you were prepared to put him in a race seat early, a combination of his age and his high potential puts his performance ceiling way up in the atmosphere.