When the Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan was added to the F1 calendar back in 2016, it raised a fair-few eyebrows. The layout of the circuit was unlike anything else in the sport, with its huge straights and tight castle section.
Since then it’s provided its fair share of fascinating races. However, it remains like Marmite to F1 fans; some love it while others absolutely despise it. With this setup, you’ll find yourself transformed from the latter to the former.
Shaving off as much wing as you can get away with is critical in Baku, thanks to the mass of straights and the enormous full-throttle run at the end of each lap.
However, stability in the traction zones is also very important. Running 1-5 wings gives you plenty of speed down the straights without sacrificing your ability to apply the power out of the corners.
If you’re finding that you have plenty of stability under traction, taking a little bit of rear wing off for extra straight-line speed could be the way to go.
Turning your front wing setting up to 2 for qualifying may yield a better overall lap time. But remember to turn it back down to 1 for the race, or else you may find yourself struggling to overtake.
On-throttle differential remains at 50% for Baku. As ever, an unlocked on-throttle setting helps massively with limiting wheelspin when accelerating.
For your off-throttle setting, I would suggest going with 60%. As Baku’s corners tend to be low-speed, running a low off-throttle differential setting is beneficial.
This is because it aids the car in rotating at lower speeds, and as such it compensates for the understeer inherent in the wing settings.
Using camber settings closer to 0 also works well in slow corners.
Therefore, -2.50 and -1.00 will help your car’s performances in the many right-angled turns of Baku.
Your toe settings are one of the better ways to limit your tyre wear. This circuit is especially punishing to the rears, and so it’s worth running toe settings of 0.05 and 0.20 to mitigate this.
Suspension settings are another way to make up for the low wing levels you’ll be running around here.
A stiff suspension, particularly at the front, would help with getting the nose of the car turned in. However, there are many kerbs around the Baku City Circuit, and most of them are a rough ride.
Because of this, 3-4 are the suspension settings I’ve gone with. If you’re feeling confident in your ability to stay off the kerbs, then consider raising these values a little.
Opting for a low setting on the front anti-roll bar is another way to help with the car’s rotation. I’ve elected to run 3-9, using the rear setting to moderate the soft front setting and bring a little more stability.
Given the major role that drag has to play in Azerbaijan, running a low ride height seems optimal. However, those kerbs I mentioned before really are very significant, and as such 2-4 is the best way to go here.
Once again, a brake pressure of 100% is my recommendation, along with a bias setting of 50%.
This is one of the circuits where it’s easiest to lock up, and where braking is most crucial. So, if you’re having trouble handling the brakes, dropping the brake pressure should help you out.
For your tyres, running low rear pressures is essential to prevent any potential overheating.
I tend to prefer running similar front and rear pressures, as it makes the car feel a little more balanced. Therefore, 21.8psi on the fronts maintains a nice balance with 19.9psi on the rears.
The rear setting is the important one around here, so feel free to experiment with the fronts as you see fit.
The Bake City Circuit is a unique challenge in F1 2020, and without the right setup it can be a huge pain to drive.
This setup will have you feeling confident in your rear tyres lap after lap. What's more, you’ll be slippery enough on the straights to allow you to challenge for position with the cars ahead.