Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport. Highly complex and difficult to learn, F1 games are no different from the real thing. You can pick up an F1 game and race just like others, but to really excell there are a few things you need to get to grips with.
Use the assists
F1 2018 has a lot of driver assists that can take away some of the more complex aspects of the game, and you shouldn't be afraid to use them.
The beginner assists are very useful. The braking assist will prevent you going too deep into corners or flying into barriers around the street circuits, while the traction control will help you under acceleration and prevent the car from seriously snapping on you as you exit the corner.
Knowing the track is vital to setting a good time, and the dynamic racing line will show you where you should position your car on the tarmac. This is particularly useful for finding the apex of corners and understanding how the track flows from corner to corner. The pit assists will take away the extra mechanics of slowing for the pit lane speed limit and then getting out of the box. While the ERS Mode assist will mean that you don't have to actively manage the new ERS system which deploys harvested electrical energy for a power boost.
As you become more comfortable with how the car feels and handles, you can begin to remove the assists piece by piece and compete more on your own skill. The braking assist should be the first thing you remove, and then you can start to manage ERS and the pits yourself. As you learn the tracks you can do away with the racing line. Using a controller rather than a wheel and pedals will make manual gears and no traction control extremely difficult, so don't worry if you are still using an automatic gearbox and some traction control once every other assist is gone.
Setting up the car
Getting the setup right for your car, and your own driving style, is a daunting task. The various settings can look like you need a degree in motorsport engineering to understand, but once you start to drive the circuits you will begin to find where you need to tweak things.
The general rule for your wing angle and aerodynamics is that the more corners there are the more downforce, wing angle, you want to put on. You can see in our Monaco and Hungary setups, where the straights are limited and the corners frequent, that we have added a lot of wing angle. Meanwhile in Baku and Monza where there are huge straights, we remove a lot of wing.
Getting the wing angles right for your own style and the tracks demands can shave seconds off your lap time, and the same goes for the rest of your setup. Transmission, suspension geometry, suspension, brakes, tyres, and weight distribution all affect the car's performance in different ways, and as you gain experience you will begin to get a feel for how each one impacts handling and speed.
We have setup guides for each track, but with experience you will find small tweaks and changes within them that will improve the car for your own style, as well as whatever assists you may still have active.
Slow in, fast out
finding the braking point for a corner is always tricky as it moves with how much fuel is on board and how worn your tyres are. The most dangerous thing to do is to brake too late. This puts you at risk of knocking your front wing off against a wall, but it will also means you will be late turning in, and therefore have to turn sharper and more slowly.
Braking a touch early is better than too late as getting a proper exit from the corner is vital, especially if the corner is leading into another one very quickly or a long straight.
Of course, when overtaking you may have to be late on the brakes to get past an opponent, but when by yourself be sure to focus on where you brake and get all your braking done while not steering if at all possible.
If you have been finding success in your career mode and want to test your mettle online then be prepared for a minefield of dangers. The first corner is always chaotic, and evasive manoeuvres should always be considered. If you do get to qualify, then try to get as far up the grid as possible so you don't get tangled up too much.
Lag as well as intentionally dirty drivers can cause problems in online races, and even drivers with honest intentions can tangle with you. Keeping a cool head is vital, especially as the penalty system can have a difficult time judging just who is to blame for an accident. You may find yourself getting cut up on corner entry, clipping your front wing off and being given a penalty too. It can be maddening at times, but it will happen to others as well so a three-second penalty could end up being one of the lowest time penalties applied.