No F1 game this year


This is quite amusing. Sony had a five year deal to produce the official F1 game. The license fee was $15 million per year and the deal ran out with the 2007 version. But it has not been renewed yet so there is no 2008 version and with game development lead times there is unlikely to be a 2009 version.

The reason is that Bernie Ecclestome wants more for the license. He feels that $15 million per year is not enough, whilst Sony think that it is quite sufficient. Now maybe Bernie thinks that he can play Sony off against Microsoft. But Microsoft is an American company and Americans don’t have F1 as part of their culture, they prefer the rather crude NASCAR racing. Whereas Sony is a Japanese company and F1 is massive in Japan.


The funny thing about this is that Bernie has now lost $30 million by not having the game for two years. Not a lot to him, maybe, but he will have to sign a new five year deal at $6 million more per year just to recoup this loss. So that means he has to get $21 million a year just to be back to where he was before. Good luck to him.

In the meantime F1 suffers. The F1 game was an impressive marketing tool for the sport. Every year it got the message of F1 over to many millions of people. Some of those will be children who may well become lifetime F1 followers as a result of playing this game.

When I worked at Codemasters, Jim Darling, the chairman, always resented paying license fees to use brands in our games. He always thought that they should be paying us for the advertising they were getting. Now with in game product placement and in game advertising this is starting to come true. But I doubt if Bernie is going to pay Sony to make a game any time soon.


  1. Would it not be much more likely that EA would try and outbid SONY? EA would make in multiplatform and F1 could leverage this into higher licensing fees. See EA NFL exclusivity as example.

    Of course if this happens the F1 game will get the EA treatment.

  2. Sorry, one more thing.

    Does the existence of an F1 vehicle in Polyphony’s GT5 series lead one to speculate that SONY is looking to have Polyphony launch a GT quality F1 game after GT5 is done? What is the licensing agreement? Just with Ferrari or with F1 and Ferrari?

  3. GT’s licencing agreement will be with Ferrari. Similar deals exist which allowed BMW’s F1 cars to be in rFactor and Liver for Speed.

    EA had an F1 licence before, until 2002.

  4. Who cares. Let him lose money, plus we have the “crude” NASCAR here in the states, so f-em.

  5. If i remember correctly The Sun announced a Lewis Hamilton F1 game being made by EA perhaps in the same style as the Tiger Woods franchise.

  6. to Kspraydad:

    No, Polyphony will not be making a F1 game. They are putting all of their resources right now into finishing the GT5 full game. I don’t know why it even matters that there will be no new F1 game coming out. The ps3 one already looks great and is WAY TOO HARD to play. if you tap one car in the rear you lose your front wing and you can forget about trying to win the race. Way too hard (realistic) for me. I like realism but, that game was toooo realistic and made me not want to play anymore.


  7. It’s sad to know that there won’t be any F1 game this year and maybe 09. In my opinion now would have been the best time to come out with one, since the Lewis/Kimi effect has been amazing and drawn a lot of attention and BMW have also started to come into the picture. Tickets are sold out at almost every GP, this year more then ever. But on the other hand, seeing that EA have signed Lewis, like Kspraydad said “i’d hate to see this great franchise getting the EA treatment”.

  8. Pretty much everything I know about F1 (and as a result, all the enjoyment I get out of watching it) comes from playing a great F1 game on the Amiga about 14 years ago. I knew pretty much every inch of every track on the circuit at the time- and I still like watching the Monaco race, because that’s the one I liked racing on the best.

    Wish I could remember what it was called…

  9. Scott,

    I bet it was Geoff Crammond’s GRAND PRIX.

    I loved that game, and it was very impressive for it’s time.

  10. “The ps3 one already looks great and is WAY TOO HARD to play. if you tap one car in the rear you lose your front wing and you can forget about trying to win the race. Way too hard (realistic) for me. I like realism but, that game was toooo realistic and made me not want to play anymore.”

    Then why not turn off damage?

  11. love f1 have for many year’s and the game got better untill 05 game out the game was the same as last year not a lot changed i have heard the new game is goming out next year which is 2009 sony could of made a 07 and 08 but want the game to inprove also f1 owner want’s tyo make more money and will be leting both playstation and xbox have it. cant wait for it to come out. the best thing is the game is realistic and that the graphic are fab. the only thing i would love to see is f1 online for the first time as i am real good and the playing the computer is not a challenge

  12. I think the PS3 Formula 1 game is very impressive and I love having to concentrate through every practice session, qualifying round, and race. The game is realistic and difficult and I only have it on medium difficulty. I hear that codemasters has the licence to F1 now. The game they create will suck, and I will not buy it. I didn’t play Dirt, but I played Grid and it was amusing but not realistic, too arcade like. I am not looking forward to the game they create. I will play the game I have and will wait until hopefully sony gets the licence again.

  13. Formula 1 97 on the ps kicked . I still play it now, Murray Walker and Martin Brundle commentating, the graphics and Eddie Irvine driving for Ferrari, the game is LEGEND….

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