F-Zero is a fairly straightforward racer in that your only real goal is to cross the finish line with a podium finish (first, second or third). The F-Zero Grand Prix is divided into three leagues with five circuits each. Despite the simple premise, there are a few rules and other game elements that may not be immediately obvious.
In each lap, passing the goal line with a rank lower than the indicated target (shown in the upper-left portion of the screen) will result in immediate disqualification. If, at any time, you should fall below 20th, you will be disqualified regardless of the current lap target.
- Lap 1: Cross the goal line within the top 15
- Lap 2: Cross the goal line within the top 10
- Lap 3: Cross the goal line within the top 7
- Lap 4: Cross the goal line within the top 5
- Lap 5: Cross the goal line within the top 3
At the completion of each lap in a Grand Prix (GP) race, points are awarded to the player based on his/her rank at that moment. Each time the total score reaches a multiple of ten thousand (10,000, 20,000 30,000, etc.), the player is awarded a spare machine. These points are not used to determine an overall winner for each league.
Points Awarded For Laps 1-4
- 1st place: 900 pts
- 2nd place: 600 pts
- 3rd place: 400 pts
- 4th or below: 200 pts
Points Awarded For Final Lap
- 1st place: 2500 pts
- 2nd place: 1500 pts
- 3rd place: 1000 pts
The Super Jet, or S-JET, is a single-use charge that boosts your machine's current speed. You start with no charges but are awarded one S-JET use with each lap you complete up to a maximum of three uses. The number of charges you have available is indicated with an 'S' (green is available, orange is in use, and grey is unavailable).
Each circuit contains at least one pit area, generally found in or around the home straight. Driving in the pit area will signal the official car to begin restoring your machine's power. The more time spent in the pit, the more power is restored. As such, pit runs are best made at just under race speed when considerable amounts of power need be restored.
While many shortcuts across a course are allowed (e.g., using a jump plate to fly off the course in order cut corners), some will result in a foul. If you attempt an excessively large shortcut, you may be pulled back to a point on the track near where you began your attempt.
A spare machine allows you to retry a race if you have been disqualified, crashed, or otherwise retired. Players begin each GP league series with two spare machines but may earn a maximum of five. Additional spares may be earned at each ten thousand point interval.