F1GP Media Container Files

Media container files are files that contain a number of media-related items. The items are usually images or palette data, and some video/animation-related data.

File Info
Size Varying
Checksum? No

A container file consists of a header which includes references to all the items stored within, followed by the actual data.



The first 8 bytes form the word “f1pcanim”.

This is followed by a short value containing the number of items in the file.

Item descriptions

The item descriptions are 14 bytes long. They repeat once for each item stored in the file.

Field Type Description
Type short There are a number of different item types that exist:
1768: Probably represents a frame in an animation, occurs in CHAMP.DAT et al
1769: Large full-screen images, as stored in BACKDROP.DAT and TRACKPIX.DAT
1774: Small images, as stored in FLAGS.DAT and HELMETS.DAT
1776: Palette information for the image of type 1769 that follows it
Offset int Location later in the file where the data is stored
Length int Length (in bytes) of the stored data
Width short Width of image in pixels
Height short Height of image in pixels

Parsing the various image types

Animation frames (type 1768)

The format of this is still unknown.

Small images (type 1774)

Read a byte as a signed byte (-128 to 128). If the value is negative, this represents a number of repeating pixels of the same colour.

Take the value and multiply it by -1 and then add 1 to get the number of times the same colour will appear.

Then read the next byte. This contains the palette index of the colour that should be repeated.

For example, all helmets in the default HELMET.DAT file start with the values D1 DC D1 DC D1 DC D1 DC D1 DC. This is because the first five lines of all helmet images are the same type of blue.

D1 as a signed byte is -47. Multiplying this by -1 and adding 1 gives 48, which is the width of a helmet image. DC is 220, which is the index of the blue colour in the palette.

The number of repeating colours can never be greater than the width of the image.

If the value is positive it represents a number of pixels of different colours.

The value that has been read, plus 1, is the number of following bytes that should be read, where each byte contains the index in the menu palette.

This process then continues until the end of the data has been reached.

Large images (1769)

This data differs from how the small images are structured, and is not yet properly documented.

Palette info (1776)

All palette info items have a width of 256 and a height of 0 (for some reason). They are always 768 bytes long, where each set of three pixels represents the amount of Red, Green and Blue in the colour. And 256 * 3 is 768…

Container File Details

The media container files in F1GP are BACKDROP.DAT, CHAMP.DAT, CRASH1.DAT, CRASH2.DAT, CRASH3.DAT, FLAGS.DAT, HELMETS.DAT, TRACKPIX.DAT and TROPHY.DAT. They are described below.


This file contains the images that are displayed in the background throughout the game, including the title screen. However, it does not include the images of tracks, those are stored in TRACKPIX.DAT.

Index Description Usage
0 Palette data for image 1
1 Image of Nelson Piquet in the Benetton BACKDROP.DAT image 01
2 Palette data for image 3
3 Image of marshall waving flag Shown between races during a championship season BACKDROP.DAT image 03
4 Palette data for image 5
5 Image of Honda engine Shown when viewing the constructors championship standings BACKDROP.DAT image 05
6 Palette data for image 7
7 Title image BACKDROP.DAT image 07
8 Palette data for image 9
9 Two Lotuses BACKDROP.DAT image 09
10 Palette data for image 11
11 Mansell’s helmet Background on the driver selection menu. BACKDROP.DAT image 11
12 Palette data for image 13
13 Williams team member holding a pit board BACKDROP.DAT image 13
14 Palette data for image 15
15 Nigel Mansell in the pits Appears when pressing Esc during a session BACKDROP.DAT image 15
16 Palette data for image 17
17 Car with Agip logos shown from behind
18 Palette data for image 19
19 Car in pits Setup screen
20 Palette data for image 21
21 Car in pits, wheels off Setup screen
22 Palette data for image 23
23 Car in pits, bodywork off Setup screen
24 Palette data for image 25
25 Senna spraying champagne
26 Palette data for image 27
27 Nose of car, rendered Displayed after winning the championship?
28 Palette data for image 29
29 Senna and a Williams driving through the rain
30 Palette data for image 31
31 McLaren and Williams in Monaco Main menu background BACKDROP.DAT image 31
32 Palette data for image 33
33 Three drivers on the podium
34 Palette data for image 35
35 Driver sitting with other drivers behind BACKDROP.DAT image 35


Probably contains the animation that is displayed after winning the world championship.


The different animations that are displayed after retiring from a race in different ways.


The flags that are displayed when choosing the game language after startup. Note that these are dependent on the palette stored in BACKDROP.DAT, item index 6.


Contains the images that are displayed on the driver selection menu screen. Note that these are dependent on the palette stored in BACKDROP.DAT, item index 10.


Contains the 16 background images that appear when browsing tracks, plus the image that appears at the track selection screen.


The animation that appears after you have won a race(?)