Grand Prix 4, commonly known as GP4 was released for the PC on June 21, 2002, is currently the last Formula One racing simulator released by the developer Geoff Crammond and the MicroProse label. Based on the 2001 Formula One season, GP4 essentially serves as a graphical and seasonal update of Grand Prix 3 which had been released in 2000 the game retained the series' legendary physics engine. However it entered the market at a far less hospitable time than its three predecessors, and the game faced stiff competition from an alternative Formula One simulation from studios such as ISI.
The game was planned for Xbox console but was cancelled.
Modifications from version 3
After the criticism received by Grand Prix 3 for not advancing the series Grand Prix 4 featured a heavily revised graphics engine and updated physics including wet weather driving that even today is considered some of the best to ever feature in a motorsport simulation. Despite this, the game still showed Crammond's oft-commented dated approach to game design.
While it is possible to play the game on a LAN, internet gameplay was not possible, due to licensing restrictions. Some individuals managed to circumvent this problem later.
The framerate locked and CPU heavy graphics were still a big issue with the series despite a completely revised graphics engine. However, the graphics engine proved to be very scalable supporting models and textures multiple times the detail of the original shipped materials.
The mod community faced similar frustrations with the track format and it took fully two years before the track format was truly "cracked". The first add-on tracks to be released for the game included Shanghai, Istanbul and Jerez.
When the game was initially launched, it had a large number of bugs. Many of these were addressed by a patch which was later included with the retail game, though the project was canned when Microprose closed and no further official fixes were forthcoming. To compensate for this some third party programmers addressed some of the remaining problems, and included enhancements which allowed the game to follow the updated rules of the Formula One championship.
Many claimed that the stated "minimum requirements" were set too low and that they could barely get the game to run on a significantly more powerful system.
Although the game could be considered a relatively modest commercial success the chances of a further entry to the series could be considered slim to none due to the fact that MicroProse's parent company Infogrames dissolved the developer shortly after the game's release. Also the Sony Computer Entertainment brands exclusive licensing deal for Formula One games rules out an update with official stats. An Xbox port of the title had been planned for release in late 2002 before being cancelled in October of that yearRetroGamer magazine, issue 69. "In the chair with Geoff Crammond", page 88.
Alcohol and tobacco related sponsors
Ferrari's Marlboro is completely taken off (replaced by the normal colour of the car).
McLaren's West is changed to "Mika" and "David" (as in real life).
Jordan's Benson & Hedges is replaced with "Bitten Heroes" (Used at the United States Grand Prix).
BAR's Lucky Strike is replaced with the non-tobacco version of the logo and "Look Alike" (as in real life).
Benetton's Mild Seven is replaced by 'Fisico' and 'Jenson'.
Jaguar's Becks is replaced with "Best's".
Williams' Veltins is replaced with "Visions".
GrandPrixGames Official Site
Grand Prix Games - The Community Place Grand Prix X Series Community Site