It’s a big week in the world of Formula 1 – not only is it race weekend, it’s race weekend at a brand new circuit. The Miami GP is the second F1 race weekend to be held in the US for the 2022 season, joining the Texan Circuit of the Americas on the roster. It’s been a tight turnaround for the circuit constructors with final building work finishing just days before the teams are set to burn rubber. With that in mind, how on earth did the team at Codemasters manage to design an accurate version of Miami for the upcoming F1 22 game?
Codemasters was kind enough to provide some early preview code of F1 22 which is releasing later this year. While we can’t talk specifics about the game’s new features just yet, we can dish the gossip on what it’s like to drive the Miami circuit. Even the F1 drivers themselves don’t have that privilege just yet!
So, what’s so specific about the Miami International Autodrome circuit? The track is situated in the space surrounding the Miami Hard Rock Stadium. Surrounded by palm trees perforated with setting sunlight, this track is peak Miami. It’s fast and flowing, which should hopefully result in some wicked fast lap times.
It’s 5.41km in length and consists of 19 corners. The big talking points are the two ridiculously long straights that are bound to cause issues for the proposing Mercedes and Ferrari cars. With three DRS zones, this track will surely unlock the full speed potential of these brand new 2022 cars.
F1 22 Miami – Drive Time
But what is it actually like to drive? I sat down with the Senior Creative Director of F1 22, Lee Mather. As someone who’s been working on the Miami track as long as anyone, he’s the best person to ask for how the track actually feels to drive. Here’s what he thinks: “I thoroughly enjoyed it! I really like the contrast in how it’s a very fast flowing circuit which suits the modern cars so well. The cars this year are designed to go insanely fast and more closely together which is really cool.
“But then there’s that really tricky section that’s just so intricate and tight – it’s really something that they’re gonna be tripping over each other into, I think. You can definitely see as you come out of the really fast section, that’s gonna be an overtaking point into there. But obviously, if you get it wrong, it’s such a tight and intricate bit of track that there’s gonna be chaos in there, I would think.
“I think it’s interesting when you’ve got a track where it throws something like that in and it really shows who can hustle a car.”
I’m keen to agree with Mather. There are very few corners in which you need to slow right down for. Most of the turns in this circuit invite you to coast round them with only minor lifts. The only times where the break pedal is really put to work is after those monster straights. If drivers can nail their braking points after the DRS zones, that’s where we’re likely to see the most overtaking action on this circuit.
F1 22 Miami – Team Effort
You’d think that developing a track that isn’t built yet would be a tough ordeal. Luckily, this isn’t Codemaster’s first rodeo – it also had to develop the Circuit of the Americas track before it was built back in 2012. In addition, Codemasters is now part of EA Sports, which means it had a helping hand from a few other studios.
“When it comes to Miami, we know exactly the region because we knew it was around the stadium, so that was a good starting point,” Mather says. “We were able to collate as much reference as we could through the normal, official channels. Then we had the likes of the Madden team, who are based out in Orlando. We were able to get some of those guys to go out and get some photos and references as well as there were some gaps in the data that we weren’t clear on.
“In particular, we had this assumption quite early in the process that it was going to be incredibly flat, and yet there are areas where it’s raised and it’s quite undulating. We weren’t expecting quite so much of that.
“We’ve been able to take some of the assets, like the stadium, from the Madden team as well and share content there which has been really cool.”
What in the JPEG?
If you’ve been following the F1 circus for the last week, you’ll have no doubt seen the Harbour memes circulating online. There’s a harbour area constructed into the Miami circuit scenery, intended to bring a little personality to the carpark it was initially built upon. However, instead of filling it with actual water, the area is now covered over with an awful JPEG looking cover. It looks like something directly out of GTA: Vice City.
However, my keen eyes noticed that, in F1 22 at least, the harbour area is filled with actual, wet water. So I had to ask Mather the question: in the interest of realism, will the Miami harbour water be replaced with a JPEG image before launch?
““It’s a very good question!” Mather replies. Thank you, I try. “I don’t know the honest answer to that one but I have seen the jokes going on in our internal comms, ‘Why have we got water in there? Are we gonna swap it for something else?”.
That’s not a definitive answer, but the tomfoolery has certainly been noticed by the F1 22 team at Codemasters.
F1 22 is set to launch across PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on July 1st 2022. Are you excited to see the Miami circuit in F1 22? Let us know across our social channels.
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Featured Image Credit: EA/Codemasters