The game follows the basic structure of Formula One 06 for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. The main differences include the updated visuals for the PS3 including a lot more detail, Sixaxis compatibility, real time reflections, car reflections on wet circuits and new wet weather effects. Early in development the safety car was to be included in the game for the first time in an F1 game since Formula One 99 for the PlayStation but was removed before the final release along with the PSP wing mirror integration shown at E3.
The game also boasts dynamic weather, and improved AI. The AI system is called “Live Action Racing” where one can pressure the opposition, causing them to make little mistakes such as running wide on corners, causing them to crash into other cars or spin off the road of their own accord. The AI will then try to seek opportunities to pass the player in a realistic manner.
The game is based on the early 2006 Formula One World Championship. Hence, Yuji Ide drives for Super Aguri when in reality he lost his super licence just 4 races into the ’06 Formula One World Championship, and Franck Montagny, then later Sakon Yamamoto took his seat. Other minor changes throughout the real 2006 Formula One World Championship are also not represented, therefore Pedro de la Rosa, Robert Kubica. Robert Doornbos, Franck Montagny and Sakon Yamamoto are not featured. Also, the Midland team are not re-branded as Spyker in later Grands Prix in the game.
In the career mode, players begin by running tests for one of three teams (Toro Rosso, Super Aguri or Midland F1) at either the Silverstone, Magny Cours or Catalunya circuits. The tests given vary between the teams. When the player successfully completes the tests, they are given the role of test driver or race driver, depending on how well the player performed in the test. After performing well as a test driver, the player will become the second driver of the team. From there the player can compete in race weekends through many different roles. As a test driver the player will try out different car settings in practice, and as a driver the player will have track position targets to meet to keep the seat. The player’s performances are subject to review at several points during the season.
The initial release did not include force feedback support, which is considered by many to be an important feature for simulation racing games used with driving wheel controllers. A subsequent update in early 2008 added force feedback. The game also lacks support for 1080i or 1080p output resolutions. Per the calendar, the Belgian Grand Prix is not included.