F1 2020 Handling: Braking, traction control, dirty air, changes, & more

F1 2020's release is just around the corner and we can't wait to get our hands on Codemasters' annual flagship title.

Thanks to the developers at Codies giving interviews, there's plenty we already know about what to expect when the game releases in July.

Handling and physics are key to the success of any racing game. The Official Formula 1 game is no exception to this, with Codemasters bringing big improvements for F1 2020.

What exactly has been tweaked and altered? In short, a lot, and we'll be going over everything we know so far!


Codemasters have been listening to the fans' concerns much more in recent years and it shows with the upturn in quality of their games.

Thanks to the increased profile of the F1 games, Codies have also been able to take onboard feedback from the sport's drivers themselves.

McLaren MP4-25 F1 2019
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SHINING EXAMPLE: Braking has gone through a lot of changes in the F1 games

One area which the drivers highlighted for improvement was the braking. Lee Mather, director of the F1 games, revealed in a recent interview that braking is changing for this year's game:

"We've done some work on the physics this year, which essentially impacts on the inertia levels of the wheels and the tyres."

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"When you do brake now, you'll get the shorter braking distances and better braking feel."

Those that are eagle-eyed will notice that the cars in F1 2019 are several seconds slower per lap than the actual cars. Braking is a contributing factor, so expect lap times to be much closer to reality this year.

The better feel also plays into the hands of the PS5's DualSense controller. While F1 2020 likely won't have a specific PS5 version, F1 2021 will so Codies need to get this right ahead of next year's game.

Traction Control

Traction Control (TC) is banned in Formula 1 and has been for over ten years now. TC is allowed as a driver aid in the F1 games though, so it'll play a part in F1 2020.

f1 2019 mercedes
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PERFECT GETAWAY: Codies aim to perfect their winning formula each year

TC limits the amount of power that the engine delivers to the rear wheels to prevent wheelspin. This also prevents the rear end of the car being too loose but conversely limits how fast you can lap circuits.


Mather also revealed in that TC is being overhauled in this year's game thanks to input from the F1 drivers:

"You'll find you have much more confidence on the throttle [in F1 2020]. So, you'll be able to get on the throttle much earlier coming out of corners."

"In fact, one of the drivers did say that the way the traction was being delivered in '19 with traction control on medium was very similar to a modern Formula 1 car."

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What this means is that because of the unsprung mass being modelled more accurately, traction will be much better in F1 2020 than '19.

So, for those that had their TC on medium, that will become TC's new "off" mode. Something between 2019's medium and full will become 2020's medium TC setting.

Again, like the change in braking, this will result in faster lap times than last year's game.

Dirty Air

Albon Leclerc Interlagos Dutch Virtual GP
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FUN BUT UNREALISTIC: Slipstream is too powerful around some circuits

Something that was highlighted in the Virtual GP at Interlagos was how the "dirty air" effect and slipstream were out of balance.

Dirty air is what slows you down when following another car closely through the corners. The slipstream is the opposite, as the hole in the air produced by the car in front gives you a boost on the straights.

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The racing between Charles Leclerc and Alex Albon was mesmeric, as the pair swapped the lead lap after lap in the Dutch GP.

It wasn't realistic though, as in reality, one of them would've pulled out a lead through the twisty middle sector. Mather has stated that these have been "tweaked" for 2020, so expect the dirty air to more effective in 2020.

Tyre Pressures

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UNDER PRESSURE: You now have more options when it comes to tyre pressures

The final change to the physics that we know about so far is regarding the tyre pressures.

We've been able to alter the pressures of the front and rear wheels for a number of years now, but F1 2020 take this to the next level.

In F1 2020, you'll now be able to set the pressures for each individual tyre, not just the axle.

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What difference will this make? Well, it'll certainly allow the more dedicated players to extend the life of their tyres even further than before.

Take a circuit like China's Shanghai International, for example. The front-left takes a beating around this circuit, as there are many long right-handers which melt the rubber away.

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If you lower the pressure of the front-left, you can better control the thermal degradation of the tyre. This won't compromise the grip levels for the front-right.

For a lot of players, this won't make a huge difference, but those in the esports community have another setting to master.

F1 2020 will be released on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Stadia on 10 July.

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