Updated: Jun 30, 2022
F1 22 is out (you can read the review here) which means we get to experience every track in brand new cars and in some cases with brand new layouts, but which track is the best? This isn't a question of how well Codemasters have translated the tracks into video game form, they've nailed that yet again, but is a question of how good each track is to drive. To be clear this is also not necessarily a reflection of my opinion of how the tracks are to watch in actual Formula One. With each rating and explanation I'm also including some gameplay as a little gift from me to you.
Bahrain is a nice and easy track to drive in both race and qualifying with the exception of turns 11 and 12 which with the wrong speed and angle will absolutely ruin your car. If you can nail those two turns Bahrain has a great flow to it with some great overtaking spots into and out of the main straight. It also has some really nice wide run off areas so even if you do lose the tail end or get the braking zones wrong you should come away mostly fine. The Bahrain International Circuit picks itself up an eight out of ten, only losing two because I've slammed my car into that turn 12 wall one too many times over the years to fully love this track.
Saudi Arabia 5/10
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is the fastest track on the Formula One calendar feels very much like a mixture of Azerbaijan and Canada which makes for a bit of a tricky lap at times. If you can stick to the racing line there are very few laps more satisfying to drive, but sticking to the line is the hard part on this track. Some turns have really wide run off areas which is nice, but for the most part even the smallest mistake will see you slamming into a wall somewhere around the speed of 200 mph. There are some great overtake opportunities and a couple of really long DRS zones so there's definitely room for some good racing, but I'm 99% sure nobody ever really wants to race here. With all that said, Saudi Arabia does score a fairly respectable 5 just because of how great a flying lap can feel (and look).
Albert Park has undergone some changes to turns 9, 10 and 13. There's no longer a chicane at turn 9 and 10 with it now being one long sweeping slight turn running on from turn 8. Turn 13 has been widened now, meaning there's now a very nice overtaking spot for those that see themselves as the next Daniel Ricciardo (there's a nice Australian link there for you). The track has always been great to drive in the Formula One games but it's absolutelt the best we've ever seen it now with the changes that have been made for this season. The only reason I can't give Australia a 10 is because of the risk factor that comes with having little to no run off area around most of the track, if you lose grip your race is almost guaranteed to be over. Australia and Bahrain are very similar in difficulty level but I've given advantage to Albert Park purely because of turns 11 and 12 on Bahrain.
I was very on the fence with Imola as far as a rating goes, I hate some aspects and love others. Tamburello (turns 2,3 and 4) can absolutely ruin your lap if you get it even slightly wrong, you can't take too much curb, too much pressure on the brake and you'll be too slow, too fast and you'll end up in the gravel. Acque Minerali (turns 11, 12 and 13) can either be a great corner to take or a horrible corner to take and there's no in between, sometimes the car is glued to the floor and sometimes it just decides it wants to go backwards and there's not too much you can do about it. Imola is definitely a better track to race on than to qualify on because there are so many great overtaking spots both down the very long start/finish straight and the corners that follow. I feel very similarly about Imola as I do to Jeddah but the fair amount of run off around the tricky corners is a very nice feature of the circuit.
I really like the Miami circuit in F1 22, it's very reminiscent of the Sochi circuit. Why does it only get a 5 then? Because I hate that horrible tight chicane under the bridge. The track has quite a nice flow to it for the most part much like Sochi, and has a tricky chicane running under a bridge like Sochi except that chicane is a lot less forgiving than Sochi's. The track is nice and wide so plenty of space for overtaking, it's nice and fast, and relatively easy for all but one section. It's a shame about that horrible corner, one that drivers in real life also seem to struggle with so fair play to Codemasters for nailing just how terrible it is.
Spain is a track that's slightly boring in real life but excellent in game. It has a really nice range of turns with almost every possible corner type being present, making the Barcelona based track a really entertaining track to race on. There's no major problem areas anymore either with turns 11 and 12 having been slightly adjusted over the years to make it slightly easier to navigate, it used to be that taking the wrong speed into those turns would lead to an instant spin but now it's a relatively simple section to navigate. If you were a game designer that had to make a fictional track to add to your Formula One game it would probably come out looking somewhat similar to this one (unless you hate safety and love speed in which case you'd probably design something a bit more like Jeddah), which to me is the best way to sum up why Spain is deserving of a 9/10. It loses the single point just because I don't quite enjoy it the most out of the tracks on offer but that's more to do with me than anything else.
I hate Monaco, it's a terrible track to drive. Very much like in real life it's way too small for the now massive cars, and it makes for largely boring racing. When I get to Monaco in my career mode I find the closest point scorer to me and I take us both out on turn one, I make no attempt to finish the race (bearing in mind I use full length race settings) because I'd literally rather forfeit than have to pit for a new front wing every other lap for 70 laps. I don't have to single out problem areas because the entire track is a problem area in one way or another. It's genuinely a miracle that I completed and recorded this lap for you because I so easily could have just skipped it. Terrible track to drive, especially in the dreadful Aston Martin.
Azerbaijan is what Jeddah and Monaco want so badly to be. It's not a fun track to drive as such and it is a bit of a chore trying to stay away from the walls but when it all comes together few tracks feel better (yes I know I said the same about Jeddah). The slower twistier sections are what make it so much better than Jeddah, it actually feels like there's some time to breathe in the middle. Baku is also a great track to race on because of how easy it is to control the pace of the race, if you can back everyone up through sector two and the castle then you're absolutely set for a win. The main problems come from the afforementioned castle section because of how unforgiving that curb wall combo is, and the final two sweeping turns because of the slight risk of a catastrophic 200mph spin. The brand new adjusted wall at the first corner has caught me out a couple of times in F1 22 with muscle memory tricking me into thinking I can stick the front wheel out slightly further than I can.
Canada is one of the better tracks to drive, it's very fast and has some excellent corners through sector two, but there are a few downsides. If you play with pit speed assist off the pit lane is horrible, it's right at the end of a very high speed straight with very little space to slow down before the limiter board (you could slow down early but you risk losing positions with a slow stop that way). It's a largely unforgiving track with walls hugging the edge of the track most of the way round, but there are a few slightly kinder sections with a bit of grass to slow you down should you end up running off. There are also a few turns (such as the first corner and the hairpin near the end of the course) that at times do pose a bit of a risk with the cars having a tendency to flick their back ends out but for the most part Canada is a lovely track to drive.
Up until F1 2021 I never enjoyed driving Silverstone one bit, but more than anything I think that was down to the fact I just wasn't particularly good on this track. I wouldn't say it's my favourite track by any stretch but it is a very good one. Silverstone is very fast and has lots of great overtaking spots, it also has a beautiful absence of any and all camber so spinning is almost impossible unless you have overheating tires or are hit by another driver. There are two reasons it doesn't score a perfect score though, the really long pit lane that actually just leaves me a little bit bored, and the tricky high speed section beginning at the now infamous Copse corner.
Our first and last 10/10 track, the Red Bull Ring. Austria is an absolute dream to drive from start to finish, both in a race and in qualifying. Turns 1 and 3 might be a little tricky if you misjudge the breaking zone but when compared to the tracks before this they look dead simple. Even a full length race on the Red Bull Ring feels like a breeze, it also happens to be the favourite track of everyone I've met that plays these games. The end of the pit lane can be a little bit tricky at times when you have brand new cold tires on but as long as you're careful it should be no obstacle at all. It's high speed pretty much all the way round, it's just a shame that the game season doesn't include it twice as we saw in the 2019 and 2020 real life seasons (although it would make no sense to with it only appearing once this year anyway).
Prior to doing the above lap I would have given France a 7 or 8 but driving it in this year's Red Bull was an absolute joy, that car is genuinely the best car I've ever driven on a Formula One game and this track does it justice fully. The questionable red and blue outer design and the criss-crossing alternate track layouts does make the Paul-Ricard circuit a little tricky to get used too but once you master it it's one of the best tracks in the game. France offers some of the highest speeds of any track with a super long back straight and some of the best overtaking opportunities around with several nice big chicanes and long flowing sections allowing you to take full advantage of the wheel to wheel racing that this year's cars allow.
Last year the Hungaroring was one of my least favourite tracks. On paper it should be great, there's no corners that seem particularly challenging at a glance, but in practice it's not necessarily that simple. I drove this track in the Ferrari F1-75 and it was excellent, much like the Red Bull in France it was absolutely glued to the road unlike any car in any previous F1 game. That said, in a slightly less competitive car such as Williams' FW44 (the car I've started my career mode in) it might not be so great, hence the 8 rather than a 10. Turns 4 and 5 have been spin city in previous years and in a low downforce car this will still almost definitely be the case, and sector three is definitely more suited to the higher end cars with it being a lot more technical. Much like we saw in real life last year, race starts at the Hungaroring on F1 22 can be a little chaotic with 20 cars (or 22 if you're playing the my team mode) all piling into a very tight turn one. If you can make it through the start and the previously mentioned tricky turns this track is definitely up there with the best.
Spa is by no means an easy track, but as is a recurring theme this years cars seem to make it much easier. If you can make it through Raidillon you're pretty much set for the rest of the lap, there are a few potential spins to be found if you take too much curb but for the most part you should be ok. As ever the potential for great racing in Belgium is extremely high with several great corners for overtaking. The pit lane isn't my favourite with a bit of a funny entrance and a very unforgiving exit wall, but it's definitely not the worst lane in the game. One tiny sticking point with Spa is the sheer length of it with a lap taking nearer to two minutes than any other track, to complete a full length race is a bit of a challenge especially in the rain.
The Netherlands 9.5/10
Are you bored of hearing about how much grippier the new cars are yet? It's true though, this track proves it. I love Zandvoort, it's completely unique. Zandvoort is a bit like the Formula One equivalent of a rollercoaster and in the 2022 cars it's ridiculously fun to drive. I can't give it a perfect score because it is a tiny bit of a struggle at times in some of the lower downforce cars (not that a good setup can't fix this) especially with the crazy camber on the final corner, a wipe out there will see you heading sideways straight into the pitwall. This track is probably the most fun but Austria still pips it just because of how smooth a drive it is all the way round.
Monza is obviously a great track, the nickname "temple of speed" should show that, but there are a couple of points that slightly let it down. I completely understand why the three chicanes are needed in real life, but I'm really not a fan in the game. In a race the chicanes lead to absolute chaos, especially in open lobbies, and in qualifying they just make the lap so much trickier. I'm not suggesting that it would necessarily be a better track without them, I am saying that I don't enjoy them though. A low downforce setup is needed to be competitive along the straights at Monza but it absolutely makes the turns more difficult so if you approach it wrong you could very easily end up with your car buried deep into the barrier at the Italian track. With all of this said I do absolutely enjoy driving Monza, it is far from my favourite though.
I was almost extremely harsh on Singapore because of how ridiculously unforgiving and tricky it is, but I decided to boost its score for a few reasons. First of all, it's a night race and both in game and in real life night races look gorgeous. Secondly, when you're fully on the limit and get a lap just right it feels exactly like Lewis Hamilton's infamous 2018 lap even if you happen to be in the second slowest car in the game like I was. The third reason is that despite it's difficult nature this track is a great track to drive both on a hot lap and in race conditions. In game Singapore is exactly what I wish Monaco was. With that being said, the pitlane is a very cruel one with a horrible raised curb on entrance and a very narrow white line on a tricky exit. In the Red Bull or the Ferrari this track is up there with the best to drive.
Suzuka is one I've always had mixed feelings on, sometimes I love it sometimes I hate it (insert infamous Gennaro Gattuso quote here). In this game with the new high downforce cars it's excellent. I actually really don't have anything major to fault it on, my only problem would be that the moment you step off the racing line any hope of a quick lap is gone, you have to be precise. Suzuka has a very Zandvoort-esque sweeping first and second sector with some very interesting camber changes, this can lead to a few spins but if you get it right it feels amazing. Definitely another track that would be an absolute pleasure in the Japanese engined Red Bull (even if they are no longer using the Honda branding).
The Circuit of the Americas is weirdly the only track that I can never get quite right and so the only one that I ever use a racing line on, that back and forth sweeping first sector is so difficult to get spot on at full speed. I do love this track though. I really only marked it down because I'm not very good at it to be honest. It does feel a little bit soulless in the sense that it doesn't really have any super memorable corners or a distinct look, to me it always feels a bit like a trackmania track and I can't quite explain why. I haven't marked it down for that though so don't worry. The pitlane is one that I can never get on with either, I've gone right front wheel into that wall more times than I care to remember, and the exit is definitely an interesting one as it spits you out right on the indide of the first hairpin but that's a plus if anything.
As an actual track to drive I feel very similarly about this as I do to COTA, it's one I can't quite master. That said, it's not the actual track that makes this one so great tp drive in game. The way Codemasters have implemented the stadium section with the crowd roaring as you go past in a race is incredible. There's also nothing better than going through those final turns in first place on the last lap and seeing the fireworks and confetti cannons go off around you, it really is stunning. For that reason Mexico goes from being a good track to a great track.
Interlagos is a legendary track and a great lap to drive in F1 22, it's only fitting that I did it in Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes. Nothing really about the feel of the Brazilian circuit has changed, if you liked it before you'll like it now and if you didn't then you won't now. It has an excellent winding second sector and the final corner is one of my favourite overtaking spots in the game. The opportunity for an epic switchback is also always on through the first second and third corners. Great racing is always guaranteed and a great qualifying lap feels as good as ever at Interlagos.
Abu Dhabi 8/10
When I realised my car rotation was going to land me in Max Verstappen's Red Bull at Abu Dhabi I couldn't have been happier, a fitting tribute to the current world champion (I don't care what anyone else says). Abu Dhabi has undergone some changes, the chicane at the end of the first long straight is gone, leaving us with a longer straight and the single corner in its place (incidentally the corner that Verstappen got the business done on last year). It's a change I'm not really sure on, in game I feel as if it takes away the opportunity for some potentially great wheel to wheel racing round those turns but it still does feel great to overtake there with a bit of late braking. I love how the track looks in F1 22, especially with the hotel over the final corners glowing as it hits night during the race. Night races really do look the best. Abu Dhabi is always a track I love to drive, there really isn't anything too challenging about it meaning you can really just focus on going as fast as you can. The pitlane is my favourite of any with that awesome tunnel section that takes you under the track and brings you out past the first corner, it's even better with headphones to make the most of the excellent sound on offer in this game.
That's it, that's every track. Maybe you have a different favourite, maybe you think I was wrong, if that's the case you can always leave a comment. If you're interested to know what setups I used for each lap you can find them here. You can also check out the podcast here if you liked this.