Go back to Formula 1 ’97

Written by: Rik

Date posted: April 5, 2010

Logically enough, the game uses data from the 1997 F1 season. This was back when Williams were the top team, and their Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve took the title ahead of Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher, who was eventually disqualified from the championship after controversially trying to ram his title rival from the road during the final, and deciding, race.

Villeneuve’s Williams team-mate, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, was the official runner-up, with the also-rans including future champion Mika Hakkinen and never-to-be champion David Coulthard of McLaren. 1996 champion Damon Hill had been dropped by Williams and moved to the unfashionable Arrows team, where he had little success.

There’s little detail on the cars or the drivers in the game, but they are all officially licensed, with the exception of Villeneuve, who had by this time copyrighted his name and image. Hence, on the driver select screen, he is known in the game as ‘Driverone’ and represented by a mysterious silhouette. And Murray Walker has to either call him ‘Williams Number One’ or ‘The Canadian’ in commentary. Which is a bit annoying, especially as there’s plenty of Villeneuve action at the front of the grid throughout the season.

In fact, as he’s the 1997 champion, he’s pretty much always the fastest AI opponent, and it has to be said that where drivers finish in each race pretty much seems to mirror their final position in the 1997 standings. A bit less predictability would have been nice.