Formula 1 Soundtrack, Mike Clarke / Stuart Ellis, 1996
If you developed a racing video game in the mid-90s, there was apparently little choice other than to score it with electronic beats. And few companies knew this rule as well as Psygnosis. After all, they actually helped write this musical law with their enormously successful Wipeout franchise. Those games helped to take video game soundtracks into the mainstream like few other titles before.
Keeping this in mind, it’s surprising that Psygnosis’ 1996’s Formula 1 soundtrack received a straight out, pure-bred hard rock/metal score. The masterminds behind Formula 1‘s revved-up beauty of a soundtrack are Mike Clarke and Stuart Ellis. While Ellis joined the project as a session guitarist, Clarke’s name will be more familiar to game music aficionados. As Psygnosis’ Sound Director, Clarke had mainly worked on Amiga titles before leaping into the CD console era. He would later return to work on the less remarkable Formula One 99. However, more helpful musical references for Formula 1 from Clarke’s career are Lifeforce Tenka and Destruction Derby Raw.