F1 2011 Gameplay Performance Review

F1 2011 was just recently released, this new game supports DX11 out-of-the-box, and is based on the newer EGO 2.0 game engine, but that may not mean it's all that graphically intense. We test performance on six of today's video cards so you will know what to expect in terms of performance. Comparing to F1 2010, we found some surprises.


Released on September 20, 2011, F1 2011 is the latest entry in Codemasters' Formula 1 racing game franchise. Codemasters Birmingham is attempting to build upon the success of F1 2010 with a tweaked graphics engine, improved weather effects, and updated Formula 1 team rosters. Since its launch, criticism has generally been positive. Critics have praised the handling and AI improvements, as well as the addition of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and DRS (Drag Reduction System) features. At the same time, they have also complained that the game is harder, and that there are no changes to the core game. In terms of gameplay, F1 2011 is virtually the same game as F1 2010. In terms of performance, F1 2011 behaves drastically different than F1 2010.

We added F1 2010 to our gaming suite back in October of 2010. At the time F1 2010 was released it supported DX9 out-of-the-box, with reported DX11 support to follow. As was indicated, a month later, in November of 2010 a patch was released that gave F1 2010 DX11 support and added graphical features. We used F1 2010 with DX11 support up until a few months ago, simply because it wasn't relevant to our testing anymore with the introduction of DiRT 3 (which uses an upgraded engine from what F1 2010 used.) In all of our testing using F1 2010, and comparing current generation video cards, we always found a striking lean toward AMD GPUs for the best performance in the game. All of our testing, whether it was highest-playable settings, or apples-to-apples, resulted in the comparable AMD GPU based video cards smoking the NVIDIA GPU based video cards. The tables, however, have turned quite a bit with F1 2011 as our testing has revealed, and we think you will be surprised at how this new game ended up.

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F1 2011

F1 2011 is a Formula 1 racing game. It features 24 real-world drivers from twelve Formula 1 racing teams. There are 19 circuits in F1 2011, including a new track in India. It has a single-player career mode, allowing a gamer to assume a new identity as a Formula 1 driver. There are also several multiplayer additions, which claim more emphasis than in previous F1 games. It supports up to 16-player races, and it even has a two-player co-operative multiplayer mode.

The Technology

F1 2011 uses version 2.0 of CodeMasters' EGO engine. EGO was first used in Colin McRae: Dirt in 2007, and has been used in eight games in different versions, including DiRT2, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, F1 2010, DiRT 3, and now F1 2011.

EGO 2.0 supports DirectX 11 and utilizes Sony Computer Entertainment's PhyreEngine graphics engine. Relatively little is known about EGO 2.0, but we do know that it supports DirectX 9 and DirectX 11. Unlike its predecessor, this game supports DirectX 11 out of the box. F1 2011 doesn't have standing water effects like DiRT 3 and DiRT 2 does, so the water effects in this game are not tessellated. F1 2011 looks quite different from F1 2010. It lacks the eye-popping lighting blooms, instead opting for a slightly more realistic but less dynamic look. The weather effects are improved, but motion blur and bloom lighting are toned down. There isn't much else known about EGO 2.0, as Codemasters does not share or license its engine with its competitors.

What is important to take away from the technology aspect is that F1 2010 used the EGO 1.5 engine, and DiRT 2 used EGO 1.0 engine. For F1 2011 as well as DiRT 3 they both use EGO 2.0 engine. In all of our testing done with DiRT 3, which is EGO 2.0, we've seen a slight lean toward NVIDIA GPUs performance wise when compared to comparable AMD GPUs. Therefore, you can probably speculate where we are going here. F1 2010 with EGO 1.5 and F1 2011 with EGO 2.0 are looking like two entirely different performance profiles.