Today, you will stop being Mahaveer Raghunathan and you will become Lewis Hamilton. The time has come, for you to learn how to stop being slow and start being fast.
Understeer: When the car doesn’t turn enough into the corner and the front loses grip. Results in going wide. Save by downshifitng and taking less speed.
Oversteer: When the car turns too much in the corner as the rear loses grip. Often results in a spin. Save by countersteering.
Countersteer: Turning the opposite direction to the corner to get yourself out of a spin.
Downshift/Upshift: Going down or up a gear.
ERS: Energy Recovery System, generally refers to the battery power used to get more power.
Flat: Taking a corner flat means going through it while keeping the throttle maxed (flat to the floor) and no brakes.
“Speed, I am speed”
To be fast in Formula 1, it is not about driving hard, it is about driving to the limit. Your goal is to drive as fast as you can within the limit, without severely overstepping it.
But what is the limit? The limit is the grip available to you as you drive. On corner entry, you will likely be limited in your turn in by how much front grip you have, whereas on the exit, your acceleration out of the corner is restricted primarily by rear grip.
On both controller and wheels with feedback, vibration will increase as you near the limit and will become incredibly vigorous as you exceed it. This applies in all cases, braking, accelerating and cornering. Use these vibrations to learn how much grip you have available and maximise how much of it you use.
If you are on a keyboard, bless your soul as you cannot be saved in this world.
Lets face it, the default setups are understeer hell and have no place in the toolkit of anyone trying to achieve a decent pace.
While creating setups is a long and complicated process covered best by other guides, I will endeavour to introduce some core aspects to you.
Fuel Load: For qualifying this should be as little as possible, for the race this is part of strategy and should be what you need to run at an optimal pace saving fuel in the corners (see Management).
Wings: Front wing improves turn in, preventing understeer. Rear wing improves rear stability, preventing oversteer. However, higher wing angles cause significant drag, reduce your speed on straights. Tailor you wing settings to the track, for example, at Monza, you will not need a high wing angle, whereas at Singapore and Monaco you want as much aero as you can get. Generally, rear wing should be 2 levels higher than the front wing to prevent losing the car midcorner as other parts of your setup should make it oversteer, not the wings.
Suspension: Go as soft as you need to on the front and rear suspension as you need to take the curbs you need to and maximise responsiveness. Generally, rear suspension is 2 clicks higher than front. Good baseline is 2-4
Anti-roll bars: These are how you get that e-x-t-r-a r-o-t-a-t-i-o-n. Front and rear have opposite effects, less front = more rotation and less rear = less rotation. Good baseline is 3-9
Ride height: Go as low as you can without bottoming in the high-speed corners or over bumps. Rear height should be higher to get downforce from the rake and also to improve responsiveness. 3-5 is a good starting point.
Tyre pressures: An easy way to control tyre temps (which should be 100 C on carcass max during corners). Lower pressure = lower temps, but also less responsiveness. Lower rear pressures also improve traction.
Look at time trial setups, then make them less extreme if you want a fast setup tailored to a specific track.
Drive the wheels off your car with a proper setup
A proper setup is the difference between braking for a fast corner and taking it easily flat. Setups can be 1-2 seconds a lap quicker, sometimes more, than default setups.
Ditch the assists
Assists only exist to make you slower.
Yes, you read that right.
With sufficient practice, you are quicker with no assists whatsoever. (Minor exceptions listed below)
Assists limit the control you exert over the car and thus they restrict your ability to maximise every part of your car. Traction control leads to worse exits. Cornering assist prevents taking better lines. Anti-lock brakes reduce braking power. Automatic gears reduce control over traction and acceleration. Fuel and ERS assists take away core ways to alter your pace and ability to overtake/defend. Even the racing line is not perfect. Without these assists, you can have full control of the car and you can push to the limit.
So, to be fast, one must first be slow by ditching the assists, leaving the training wheels behind and learning how to drive properly, without the poor habits taught by having no assists.
(Disclaimer, I use only racing line, for the reason below)
Some assists are broken and can be worth using if you don’t feel like a cheat for using them, these are The Exceptions:
– DRS assist
– Pit assist
– Racing line (if used in changing conditions to find changing braking points, not to actually follow.)
While you may spin at first after ditching the assists, you will end up faster in the end.
In order to achieve any sort of decent pace, you must learn to be smooth on all inputs. Being smooth on the throttle will improve your exits out of corners. Being smooth as you let off the brakes and gently turn in is critical to maximising cornering. Most importantly, the way you steer should be gentle. Sharp movements will unsettle the car and will result in understeer or oversteer (depending on setup).
But how to be smooth? Well, you need to feel the flow of the car as it goes through corners. Gently turn it in, reach maximum steering at the apex (as defined by the limit of grip), then gently reduce your steering input as you begin to accelerate out of the corner. It takes practice, but you must visualise the turn in, looking at the wheel of your car itself helps if you are on a controller.
The idea that you should only be braking, or only be steering, or only be accelerating at one time is false. You should be using all the grip available to achieve what is necessary. In practice, this means keeping the wheel straight for the majority of the braking, but as you near the turn in, reduce your braking significantly, but do not stop braking, as you gently begin to steer. Your front grip is both braking and steering, so be careful not to lock up. As you go deeper into the corner, stop braking, focus on maximising steering, then begin to reduce your steering input as you gently accelerate a small amount on the exit while still turning, before straightening the wheel and smoothly accelerating as quickly as possible. This process of braking into the corner is called trail braking and is a difficult skill. The act of accelerating out of the corner is a core part of maximising your exit and thus your overall pace.
To achieve good race pace, both ERS and fuel must be used correctly.
Rich fuel should be used on straights to maximise acceleration and top-end speed. Use rich once you have full traction and no wheelspin after you have exited a corner (Normally you will be in 4th or 5th gear by then).
Lean fuel should be used in corners and braking to cool the engine after using rich and to minimise wheelspin on the exit of corners. It can also be used at the very end of straights before braking as the small drop in speed at the end of the straight will only have a small impact. Anytime not full throttle should be spent in lean.
Use the Multifunction Display (MFD) to toggle between lean, standard and rich fuel mixes. Make sure you have sufficient fuel to finish your race and that your engine temperatures do not exceed 125 degrees Celsius (otherwise engine performance will be lost).
ERS is different to fuel, it regenerates each time you brake or coast. However, only so much can be used per lap and you have a fairly limited storage as well. The general technique (used by F1 esports drivers even!), is to run mode 1 ERS (medium) all the time, except for using mode 3 ERS (overtake) occasionally throughout a lap, such as to improve an exit or well, overtake. Overtake has a powerful impact on acceleration and top end speed, so use it to improve acceleration once you have traction out of corners and to help down the straights. However, using it at the end of straights is less effective as the speed increase lasts only until you brake, limiting how much benefit you get.
You should take care not deplete the battery past 10% or let it exceed 90% charge as both of these cause performance and reliability problems. Aim to use a steady amount of battery each lap, perhaps saving some to use extra in critical situations, such as in/out laps mid-race and while overtaking or defending.
With both fuel and ERS at your disposal, you can become very difficult to overtake on the straights as your can reach higher speeds fairly easily.
Most importantly, to be fast, you must practice. Practice time trials to learn to maximise tracks, practice races against high AI to learn how to be consistent and eventually you will build up your skill and become faster.
Wow, who would have guessed that practicing makes you better at something.
To summarise: to drive fast, be gentle, but don’t leave performance on the table.
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