As with the last few iterations of the F1 game, F1 2017 allows the player to choose any of the sports teams to race as during career mode, from Mercedes all the way to Sauber. For those that don’t want to grind too much but love the challenge of building a team up, perhaps the best place to start is at Renault.
The 2017 season saw them finish sixth in the championship and in 2018 they currently hold fourth, so as a starting point there is a lot to go on when picking Renault. So here is a guide on how best to progress your first season at the Renault Sport F1 Team in F1 2017.
The Fly-away races
The player first sets his focus on the Australian Grand Prix, before heading onto Shanghai, Bahrain and Russia to complete the first four fly-away races of the season.
The baseline chassis for the Renault is one the player can be very happy with. The car performs solidly and has the measure of teams such as Haas, Toro Rosso and McLaren whilst being close in performance to Force India. What lets the car down initially however is the engine itself, and the reliability. Mercedes or Ferrari powered cars are the best on reliability to begin with, but Renault and Honda powered cars are not so good.
So once those first R&D points are in the bank and you’ve met up with Chris, spend them on the first reliability upgrade and then the first power unit upgrade. Then throughout those first few races, this is the route that you should look to go down.
With improved reliability, you are going to avoid more penalties throughout the season and keep those to a minimum. Increasing the power will, of course, then allow you to start focus on the rest of the car, including chassis and aero. What stands you in good stead is that the base car isn’t bad, so initial upgrades to the power unit will really bolster your chances and may pay dividends as you enter Europe.
Europe and Canada
As the Grand Prix circus arrives in Europe, each team usually brings their first big update package of the year. With your Renault RS17 now more reliable and with a bit more grunt, it's time to think about the aerodynamics. Your next goal should be to bank enough research points to purchase the first aerodynamic and chassis upgrades.
But whilst doing this, keep a small focus on your reliability. It's vital you keep this to avoid penalties down the line. As the races in Europe go on, you’ll benefit from those earlier power unit upgrades, when arriving at tracks such as Baku and Austria, which are power hungry and require as much grunt as possible from your engine.
Even Silverstone requires a good bit of horsepower, but if your upgraded chassis and aerodynamics arrive in time, you could be a bit of a dark horse at the British Grand Prix. Whilst in this leg of the season, it’s important to try and make a difference as a driver as well as upgrading your car. When in the principality of Monaco, drive your heart out.
At Monaco, you can really make a difference by becoming one with the car and getting as much out of it as possible. With power less of a concern and your car potentially upgraded, you may well be a podium dark horse or, if brave enough, able to fight for the victory at the most insane circuit on the calendar.
The Second Half
So following the ‘summer break’ (the races following Hungary) you have an upgraded power unit and upgraded RS17 chassis. Now is the time to make the big push as the season goes into its latter stages. But this is where you can perhaps have more freedom regarding what you upgrade next.
Look at how many R&D points you have and how many you expect to gain, taking into account if you can complete all practice programs successfully before a race. The latter part of the season features tracks such as Monza, Singapore and Suzuka, each with very different requirements.
Monza is all about power, Singapore and Suzuka require a great chassis, and Suzuka also has a power element about it. The run up to 130R is perfect for slipstreaming to overtake into the final chicane, or if you're brave enough, into 130R itself.
Mexico also requires a lot of horsepower whilst Brazil is an unusual track, with a long start/finish straight but with a twisty and tricky infield section, so it's now down to you to use your head and work out what is best for the car.
At this stage of the year providing reliability is strong, perhaps start thinking about banking the points for season two, if you are sticking with Renault. A points haul at the end of the year will give you a huge upgrade come Melbourne in season two which could give you a head start on some of your rivals such as Force India.
R&D Points Spending
So that gives you a rough idea of what you need to do to get through your first season at Renault. Now lets take a closer look at the R&D Tree.
This is my tree at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix. At the top you can see a heavy focus on reliability. To the left I have also purchased the first engine upgrade. When I got my first bank of points in Melbourne, this is what I purchased first. You can also see I purchased one chassis upgrade on the right in the green.
Personally, that is what I wanted to do as I wanted at least one upgrade to the car itself, but is not the route I would, in hindsight, recommend. My chassis upgrade was purchased with Spain in mind but I forgot about the upcoming circuits such as Austria and Baku and perhaps Silverstone.
You can also see I have yet to touch the aerodynamics. This I am leaving until I get the next engine upgrade. I would therefore say for sure to focus on the reliability, as I have done and then follow up with power. Get a couple or so of those engine upgrades in before really focussing on the rest of the car.
So in conclusion, it's best to start out developing the power and reliability of the Renault RS17 before upgrading the cars aerodynamics and chassis, as the former is where the Renault is lacking at the start of a season.
With a solid baseline though already, you should be all set for a fantastic career at the Renault team that should one day see you become a world champion.