STORY / GAMEPLAY
You have your home test track at Florano in Italy where you can fine tune the engine and test the aerodynamics of your car to your heart's content (e.g. adjust your car's wings and test how it will handle at various speeds or even adjust your gearbox depending on how many corners the track has). It also gives you the chance to perfect your driving skills although on a general level only, as you will need to practice on each individual course as well. But you must be able to set your car up correctly for each different track in a limited time!
There are three skill levels or you to from. At the hardest (formula one) level, your opponents drive with a greater degree of skill, you are more likely to suffer from mechanical failures and you will also have to change gears manually. Steering your car is controlled via the mouse (!) which might upset some people who would have preferred to use a joystick or a gamepad or even the keyboard. The right-hand button is acceleration while the left is for braking, while changing gears is controlled via the keyboard.
Controls are rather tricky, meaning that gameplay differs from most racing car sims back then regarding the viewpoint adopted for the race. Using the mouse, wherever you steer, you can look around to the left and right and judge approaching corners from a variety of angles rather than from the standard fixed position of the straight ahead. This makes is a little tricky, as in a hard corner while steering to full, the car is in the corner of the screen!
During a race you can of course stop at the pits, requesting to change tires, alter any system settings which are not achieving optimum performance etc. But be careful, as all these tasks take up precious lap-time.
Overall, Ferrari Formula One was a departure from the standard and used the simulation element together with strategic thought to create a game of incredible complexity and truly nice realism.
GRAPHICS / SOUND
The graphics are fine supporting only on EGA or CGA back then), but by no means perfect. Attention to track details are ok, but the car's instrument panel is small and lacks an accurate counter, which is a pity. Scrolling is fine, though it does have a few glitches since the game is written in C rather than Assembly language.
On the other hand, sound is perhaps the game's biggest disappointment at least on the PC (DOS) version. Ok, the game was written and released in 1988, and sound hardware was still a missing candy for this type of platforms, so you only get a few basic sound effects via your PC-speaker.