Graphics cards may be finally starting to fall back into the realm of reasonable pricing, shipments are slowly picking up to meet demand, but it's still been a hard few years when it comes to GPUs. Getting your hands on a decent graphics card has been almost impossible for many and EA's upcoming F1 22 has absolutely no sympathy for any of us.
According to the minimum PC specs requirements listed on EA's F1 22 website, ray tracing will require at least a GeForce RTX 2060 or Radeon RX 6700 XT. These are by no means the cheapest cards around, especially with the newer 12GB variant of the 2060s charging into the market at a high price. And this is just the minimum specs EA believes will be required to get those sweet light reflections on wet roads.
If you go by the recommended specs, as opposed to the minimum, a GeForce RTX 3070 or Radeon RX 6800 is suggested for ray tracing. Some of these cards are often sitting at almost a grand US, so it's a fairly significant investment in PC hardware. This means new F1 enthusiasts may be looking at a significant upgrade, but old ones might already have it covered.
Perhaps what's most surprising about these requirements is they're also listed in the required specs on the Steam page for F1 21. Last years' iteration of Codemasters' F1 series also asks for a 2060 or 6700 as a minimum start for ray tracing functionality, with once again a 3070 or 6800 as recommended.
Our reviewer was lucky enough to review it on a 2070 and had a great experience, so this suggests there may not be too much change graphically between the years' releases. Though we hope the chaotic driver helmet cam in VR still works.
Still F1 popularity has picked up significantly in recent years partly due to the pandemic but also thanks to Netflix's Drive to Survive series. According to CNBC, the first race of 2022 was ESPN's most viewed since 1995, so we may well see a boom in people interested in the videogame as well.
We could see a hot new demand for GPUs coming out of newly turned F1 enthusiasts. Hopefully supply and pricing will continue to improve in the coming months so everyone can get in some high quality racing come July 1 when F1 22 releases.