The Russian Grand Prix hasn’t been on the Formula 1 calendar for very long but it has already produced some moments of madness and a few superb races.
The wide nature of the track, with run-off that doesn’t punish, encourages wheel-to-wheel racing in F1 2019 while the more traditional last-of-the-late-brakers overtaking is also more than possible.
It’s a circuit that is relatively kind on tyres, but with a long pit entrance and exit you need to stick to a 1 stop strategy where possible. Which means your setup needs to be well-balanced between one lap pace and race efficiency.
READ MORE: All F1 2019 setup guides
Russia is one of those weird circuits where your front wing needs more angle than the rear.
With two long flatout stretches you would be forgiven for thinking you could run a Monza-style setup here, but it is more like Canada as carrying momentum around the lap is more important than out-and-out speed.
Our 5-4 wing setting provides enough front-end bite to dip into the corners while keeping the car slippery enough in a straight line.
The kind nature of the circuit doesn’t mean wear isn’t a factor. With a lot of crucial traction zones we need to be a touch protective of the rear tyres here so we can’t just run the transmission settings we would normally love to.
The on-throttle differential is set to 65% which is a good spot for the race as it looks after the rears, but fore qualifying you can push that up to even as high as 85% to maximise traction.
The off-throttle differential is set to 85%. This is a little below the ideal but gives enough stability to survive being aggressive with the throttle out of the corners.
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Always a tricky part of the setup to get right, the suspension geometry describes how the wheels are aligned to the car and it directly affects handling and tyre wear.
The optimum setting for F1 2019 is to push camber all the way to the right and move toe all the way left. This is what you’ll see the fastest time trial setups use, but for a race that results in extreme tyre wear which is far from optimal.
As a result we always have to compromise a little, and here that compromise is to bring camber to -2.80 & -1.30. This protects the rubber while cornering a bit more. Toe is then set to 0.07 & 0.29 which provides a little extra responsiveness and stability.
As is the way with F1 2019, our suspension is set to 1-1 here. This helps move weight rearward under acceleration and also is an extremely good way to protect tyres.
The anti-roll bars are set to 6-8. This keeps the front a little more fluid than the rear and can cost some responsiveness in the sharp changes of direction but again helps keep the front tyres alive during the race while the rear stays connected to the front and doesn’t step out on us, vital with that lower rear wing.
Ride height is set to the tiny 2-3 to make the car as slippery as possible in a straight line. This is thanks to Russia’s smooth surface, lack of altitude change, and also the very forgiving nature of the kerbs around this circuit.
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Brake pressure is set to 87% here to give us a lot of stopping power, especially crucial for overtaking into turn 14 after the final DRS zone. If you aren’t using the ABS assist this might produce too many lockups so don’t be afraid to lower it.
Brake bias is set to 58%. This gives us a bit more stopping power and helps keep the rears cool during the race as the front brakes are doing the bulk of the work.
Tyre pressure is one way of keeping temperatures under control and extending life. If you are particularly kind to your tyres then upping the pressure will draw a bit more performance out without throwing off your whole setup. We have gone with 23.4 psi for the front tyres which will give them a nice responsiveness on turn-in.
The rears are set to 21.1 psi which will see a slight increase in traction without adding too much rolling resistance at top speed.
So that’s our setup for the Russian Grand Prix. Tyre management and cornering speed is the name of the game here, with the ability to react to a safety car also crucial to success. This is typically a power circuit, but with our edge to aerodynamic performance and cornering stability you can fly through the middle and final sector, follow more easily than a low drag setup could, and be very flexible with race strategy.
READ MORE: F1 2019 beginner’s guide
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