F1 2020: Beginner’s Guide – Assists, setups, ERS, building pace, & more

New to F1 games? We’ve got all the tips you need to get to grips with in Codemasters’ latest racer!

by Jacob Hancox
f1 2020 beginners guide

Many driving games can feel very daunting to newer players. F1 2020 is no different. Mistakes will be punished, and the game will always separate the wheat from the chaff.

Sometimes, this can lead to frustration. It’s not fun to have to use seventeen flashbacks just to get the braking right for turns 9-10 at Bahrain!

However, with this guide, you can make sure that your first experience with the new F1 game will be as smooth and frustration-free as it can be, so that you can enjoy the game to the fullest.

Casual mode

For complete beginners, or for those looking for a more casual experience, F1 2020’s new ‘Race Style’ feature offers a simplified way to play.

F1 2020 Casual Mode

By selecting the ‘casual’ race style option, you’ll find yourself with a whole host of features to make your life easier.

Off-track surfaces such as grass and gravel become easier to drive over, and an option to automatically reset your wayward car to the circuit is made available. With these tools, you won’t have to worry quite so much if you misjudge your braking zones.

READ MORE: The best steering wheel for F1 2020

Another feature of the casual race style mode which is new to F1 2020 is the steering assist. This tool will help guide you around the corners, making small adjustments for you if you turn the wheel too much or to little. However, it won’t do all the work for you! F1 doesn’t have self-driving cars yet!

Similarly, you can also enable the braking assist feature. Unlike the steering assist, the braking assist really will do 90% of the work for you, so the sooner you feel comfortable turning it off the better!

Intermediate Assists

There are several other ways that F1 2020 offers you assistance outside of the casual race style mode. These are perfect for players who have played a little, and who are looking to bridge the gap between total beginner and esports athlete.

F1 2020 Assists

Traction control and the anti-lock braking system (ABS) are very helpful to start with. Traction control will prevent the car from spinning out when you floor the throttle on the exits of corners, while ABS means that you won’t have to watch out for lockups if you slam on the brakes.

The 3D racing line assist is one which most drivers will have used at some point. With this enabled, you will see a green line on the track. This line is for you to follow as best you can. When you get to a braking zone, the line will turn red, letting you know that its time to slow down.

READ MORE: 7 reasons to buy the new F1 game

Braking and turn-in points are probably the hardest part of racing to learn, so the racing line can make a huge difference to your lap times.

Enabling the automatic gearbox is a must for any newer players who are playing on a controller or gamepad, rather than with a full wheel setup.

While shifting up and down the gears manually doesn’t give you much extra lap time, it is a lot to think about for a new player.

Hanoi screenshot F1 2020 1
NEW TRACKS: With two new circuits you’ll need some help to learn them

By using the automatic gear assist, you can do away with this brain-ache!

Other assists, such as the pit assists and the ERS/Fuel assists can also help you to cut out the peripheral issues, and focus on the driving itself.

If you do decide to run without ERS assist, heed this warning. The button to active overtake mode is a toggle switch, so you’ll need to turn it off when you don’t need it. If you fail to do so, you’ll have no energy left and you’ll be a sitting duck!

READ MORE: ERS modes simplified for F1 2020

Once you feel more comfortable, you should look to disable some of the assists. Turning down the traction control setting from full to medium is usually the place to start, as it gives you an idea of what to expect without throwing you in the deep end.

Most drivers find that they are even faster without assists than they were before!

Take it steady

Many new players make the mistake of wanting to set the fastest lap times as soon as they jump into the new game. This isn’t necessarily a good idea.

It’s better for your growth as a driver to build up slowly, making sure that you have a solid and consistent baseline of performance for you to improve upon.

F1 2020 AI Difficulty

One way to help with this is to race in single player versus the AI. F1 2020 allows you to control the difficulty level of the AI drivers, so that you can keep races at around your pace.

As you find yourself regularly placing higher than your teammate, raise the difficulty level accordingly. By doing this, you will find the gradual but consistent improvement that you are looking for.

READ MORE: F1 2020 game review

Flashbacks, which allow you to rewind time in order to rectify a mistake, can be very useful. Caution should be taken when using this tool, though, as overuse could lead to you failing to learn from your mistakes.

The more experience you get, the more you should be avoiding the use of this crutch. That way you can learn how to overcome your mistakes.

While time trials and short online races are all well and good, tyre management is a core skill of a Formula 1 driver. Therefore, in order to improve your abilities of tyre preservation, it is essential to race longer races.

The best way to do this is to race against the AI, where you won’t get punted off track by another player.

Car setup

The car setup screen is one of the most daunting prospects in the F1 games. However, they aren’t as complex as they seem.

Each page of the setup menu has a small paragraph explaining the effects of the various setup options on your car. Reading over these can help you to develop a proper understanding of your car. Then you can tweak the setup to squeeze out that extra tenth on track.

F1 2020 Setup Screen

If you don’t want to bother with setups, that’s fine! The basic setups that the game provides are a very solid foundation with which to drive. Alternatively, you can look elsewhere for pre-made setups designed by those with more experience.

But be warned – some of the setups you will find elsewhere won’t be suitable for actual races, as they have been designed for time trials. We have some great setups designed to be raced, such as this one for the Australian Grand Prix.

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Of course, only you know what it best for yourself! If you find yourself enjoying casual mode far more than the standard race style then continue with casual!

It’s important to find your own speed, not only in terms of your lap times but also for the rate at which you want to learn. At the end of the day, the most important thing of all is to have fun!

Jacob Hancox

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