Formula One 04 was the first Sony Formula One game to contain a 'Career mode', which allowed players to work their way through the Formula One teams over the course of five years (albeit a repeat version of the 2004 season each time). Players would start out testing in a generic Formula One car, and if they did well enough in the test they would be offered a contract by a small team such as Minardi. Players would then work their way up the grid throughout their 'career' through a mixture of good tests and impressive race performances. This game also had Net Play available.
This is the only F1 Game in the series to be changed in terms of gameplay after the original release. In the original version, there was a bug which when during the time of AI Pitstops all the field crawled to Pit lane sped then speed up once a few of the AI cars had made their stop, it was common place to be following a car who suddenly came to a crawl and you would end up hitting their rear and ending your race. Studio Liverpool responded to the fans calls about this issue and fixed this issue on the release of the Platinum version. Another criticism is that the field does not overtake one another very often.
Formula One 04 was released in Europe (PAL) and Japan (NTSC).