F1 2010 is a good first attempt at bringing the wonder of Formula One to current-generation consoles.
The simulation of F1 isn't quite complete, however. There are no safety cars deployed even in full-length races; the only mechanical failures in races other than tyre wear are those caused by impacts; and poor AI in overcrowded pit lanes can lead to much longer stops than are realistic as AI-controlled vehicles seemingly taking priority. The way the game presents information and the amount of information shown in-game are likely to disappoint many sim fans. Telemetry information is almost nonexistent, except for colour indications on car parts that alert you to damage or non-optimal temperatures, and there's no actual fuel gauge--just an indicator when you're running low which appears when you have three or fewer laps left.
Car setups are also a little opaque. While you've got the option of choosing from a number of automatic setups from your engineer in the garage, these relate only to the dampness of the overhead conditions, and there's no feedback on what is required for the individual circuits. You can manually tweak everything from wing angles to gear-shift ratios, but there's little help offered outside of the engineer's defaults. Since you need an in-depth knowledge of not only mechanics but also the courses in question to be able to make any sense of the myriad settings, F1 2010 options may well frustrate even the many F1 fans who know enough about the sport to know that Monaco requires more downforce than Monza, because they aren't sure how to implement that in-game.
Unfortunately, both newcomers and seasoned sim fans are likely to be put off by the inadequate provision of information. Even some of the most basic information is lacking. For example, in races, it's difficult to gauge where you are in relation to other cars because you're shown only lap times rather than race times. And in qualifying sessions the target time required to make it through to the next session isn't made clear. Someone new to the current rule set for Formula One would probably be confused by the three-part qualifying sessions present in full race weekends, as it's never made clear that you need to be in the top 17 to make it through to the second session. It's also not readily apparent how long it will take your car to get back out onto the track after a stop, and while session timers do appear onscreen for the last five minutes of any session, you're not warned when attempting to enter a last-ditch flying lap that the session will have ended by the time your flying lap starts.
There are plenty of multiplayer options in F1 2010, most of which are only available online. The inclusion of a turn-based time trial party mode goes some way to compensating for the unfortunate lack of split-screen support, but this mode is tarnished somewhat by inflexible rules and long load times between sessions. The lag-free online modes provide a good mix of fixed challenges and fully customisable online Grand Prix races. The quick modes let you jump into preset races with little bother. Sprints are simple three-lap races in the dry, while others feature dynamic weather and pit stops. Endurance races are one-fifth-length Grands Prix, Pole Position simply gives you a qualifying session in which to trade lap times, and the final mode has a 15-minute qualifying session followed by a seven-lap race. While car distribution is random in quick races, the individual teams' performance seems more evenly matched than in single-player, leading to a much more competitive feeling and dependence on skill in the races themselves.
When setting up custom matchups online, race lengths can be anything from one-lap wonders to multiple Grands Prix strung together in a mini championship. These can include qualifying sessions to determine grid position, or you can set grid position to be decided randomly or based on results of previous races or online ranking. As well as being random or user-selected, car choice can also be enforced based on rankings--and both can be set up by the host to distribute cars and grid places in reverse order as well, which adds a nice range of variety among friends with mixed skill levels. The one downside is that there are no options for teams to race online. Grids are also limited to 12 drivers online, with only one driver from each team taking part.
Whether you're skidding around the Bus Stop at Spa in the rain or tearing out of the Parabolica preparing to hit the pit straight in Monza, F1 2010 does a good job of re-creating the excitement and action of driving a Formula One car. Clearly there is still room for improvement, but despite its occasional quirks, F1 2010 is a game that any fan of Formula One or simulation racing would do well to take for a spin.