Nascar Heat 5 vs F1 2021: What’s Better?

Nascar Heat 5 vs F1 2021: What's Better?
Author Alessio Lorandi
Alessio Lorandi
April 8, 2022

Looking for the best racing game to play between NH5 and Formula 1 2021?

Both games offer some of the most realistic and immersive driving experiences, but which one is better?

While Nascar Heat 5 may have the edge when it comes to pure Nascar action, F1 2021 offers a more well-rounded experience, with a wider variety of tracks, and modes to choose from.

As you can see we will now take a more in-depth look at both games to see which one is the best racing game for you to choose and play.

Release Date

Nascar Heat 5 was released on July 7, 2020, while F1 2021 was released on July 13, 2021.

It’s almost an exact year later and that has allowed Codemaster to fine-tune its game with the latest cutting-edge graphics technologies.


Nascar Heat 5 starts at $29.99 on the Xbox store, while F1 2021 starts at $59.99 on Steam.

This is a big difference and it’s mainly because F1 2021 includes 100% F1 licensed content inaccessible for any other games.

That includes all the teams, drivers and tracks from the 2021 season.

While NH5 seems cheaper, with all the extra DLC packs available it will quickly add up to $100, if not more.


Nascar Heat 5 focuses purely on Nascar with Codemasters trying to recreate the experience and excitement of driving in a Nascar race.

You can choose to compete in the full Nascar raing season, which features all three national series or you can jump into quick races.

The game also features a new split-screen multiplayer mode so you can enjoy Nascar action with a friend.

F1 2021 on the other hand, takes a more realistic simulation approach.

It includes all the official teams, drivers and tracks from the 2021 season and you can race in the career mode, 2-player careers to race alongside a friend, or jump into quick races, time trials or online multiplayer.

Graphics & Physics

F1 2021 Ego engine has allowed Codemasters to create some of the most realistic F1 cars in any game to date.

The way the cars and tracks look is just insane, with a level of detail that has to be seen to be believed.

The tracks are also affected by realistic weather conditions, so you will see ever drop of rain on the helemet, which can really impact your race.

The cars also handle realistically, with each car feeling unique to drive.

The game also allows you to communicate with team radios so that you can be warned of any on-track incidents, as well as be able to change your strategy during the race.

Nascar Heat 5 instead focuses on delivering an arcade-style experience.

The cars are not as realistic as in F1 2021, but they are still fun to drive for Nascar enthusiasts.

The tracks are also not reproduced as realistically as in F1 2021, but they are still enjoyable to race on.

Driving realism

In terms of realism there’s no doubt that the clear winner is the Formula 1 2021 game.

The cars and tracks are reproduced with an astonishing level of detail, which really makes you feel like you’re driving in a real-life race.

The gameplay is also more demanding, as you need to make use of team radios and be aware of tire wear and fuel consumption.

This makes the game more challenging and rewarding, as you really feel like you’ve achieved something when you win a race.

Cars and tracks available

In terms of cars and tracks, they feature completely different approaches.

Nascar Heat 5 includes all the official Xfinity, Cup and Truck cars and tracks from the 2020 Nascar season.

F1 2021 on the other hand, includes all the official cars and tracks from the 2021 season.

They don’t have any car or track in common as they focus on completely different racing series.

However, both games feature a good selection of cars and tracks that will satisfy most racing fans.

Online Multiplayer

Regarding online races, NH5 allows 40 players to race together in the online multiplayer mode.

In F1 2021, the number of players per race is limited to 22 and that’s understandable since the F1 grid is composed by no more than 22 cars.

From this point of view, Nascar heat 5 is the winner as it allows a wider number of players to race in the online multiplayer mode, but if quantity isn’t a concern, F1 is probably more fun to drive.

The only downside of F1 online races is that you’ll encounter many drivers that will cause collisions for the fun of it and they could often retire you from the race, which can be frustrating.

Nascar Heat 5 doesn’t have this problem as much since the racing is generally more respectful.

Is F1 2021 better than Nascar Heat 5?

The games are serving completely different racing series, but if realism and simulation were the main criteria, we would say that F1 2021 is the better game.

However, if you’re more into an arcade-style experience and you want to race online with as many people as possible, then Nascar Heat 5 would be the game for you.

Both games have their pros and cons, but they are both great and will satisfy most racing drivers.

In the end, it mainly comes down to personal preferences. 🙂

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About the autor

Alessio Lorandi

Alessio has been involved at the highest levels in racing since the age of 5 (2003). He won a CIK-FIA World Championship in 2013 and then raced in F3, F2, and finally GT3s before now dedicating himself to SOLOX. He’s now on a mission to help thousands of sim racers around the world achieve their fullest potential through his ACC setups.






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