Formula 1 (video game)

Formula 1

European cover art
Developer(s) Bizarre Creations
Publisher(s) Psygnosis
Distributor(s) Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform(s) PlayStation, PC
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single Player, Multiplayer

Formula 1 is the first racing game in Sony's Formula One series. Unlike later games in the series, this game's cover has no specific driver on it (except for the North American version which features an image of Michael Schumacher driving for the Benetton team during the latter portion of the 1991 Formula One season).

Published by Psygnosis, Formula 1 is based on the 1995 Formula One season, although it was released in 1996. It is distinct from its sequels because it was made after the end of the season, meaning that it features driver substitutes. The game also allows two-players to compete against each other either head-to-head or with other computer cars via the 'Link-Cable'. Both players may then compete over a 17-race Championship season, or in a single race of the players choice.


The track models in Formula 1 were modelled from surveyors' track data.[1] The designers started with wire-frame models of the track data, then exported these from their Silicon Graphics workstations to a custom Windows 95 track editor.[2] The track editor was used to reformat the tracks so that they could be used in-game, before exporting them back to the SGI workstations where scenery and other details were added in.[2] To create the in-car sound, a Digital Audio Tape was strapped to a driver.[1] To reduce demand on the PlayStation's processor without significantly reducing the game's visuals, the developers programmed the game so that when a car reaches a certain distance away, it switches from its normal high detail model (composed of 440 to 450 polygons, depending on the car) to a low detail model composed of only 90 to 100 polygons.[1]


The game was a best-seller in the UK.[3] The game was reasonably well received, with the PlayStation version earning a 7.6 on GameSpot[4] while the PC version received a 6.0.[5] gave the PlayStation version an 8.0.[6] PSM gave the game 9/10, praising the AI, before concluding "Psygnosis' finest game to date, it relegates every other racing game to the back of the grid. This is the game that will sell the PlayStation to Grand Prix fans and unconverted gamers alike. An envelope-pushing killer-application. F1 is one of the essential purchases of 1996".[7]

Review aggregation website GameRankings provides an average rating for the PlayStation version of 87.75% based on 4 reviews.[8] While the PC version receives an average rating of 56.40% based on 10 reviews.[9]


  1. 1 2 3 "The Ultimate Formula". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (5): 140–3. April 1996.
  2. 1 2 "The Waiting Is Almost Over". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (7): 102–5. June 1996.
  3. Gallup UK PlayStation sales chart, December 1996, published in Official UK PlayStation Magazine issue 13
  4. "Formula 1". GameSpot. the original on 8 October 2003. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  5. Soete, Tim (August 22, 1997). "Formula 1 PC Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on February 2, 2006. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  6. "FORMULA 1". IGN. Ziff Davis. November 25, 1996. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  7. F1 review, Official UK PlayStation Magazine, Future Publishing, October 1996, issue 11, page 62
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