Since the release of F1 2020, I have been creating setups for a wide variety of tracks in the game. Because of the number of setups I’ve now created, I’ve developed a good understanding of how and how not to go about it.
Which mode to use
The first thing you will need to do if you’re looking to create your own setups is decide which game mode you’ll be testing your car in. While time trials may seem like the obvious choice, it isn’t quite that simple.
TIME TRIALS: One way to find your ideal setup
As tyre wear, tyre temperature and fuel loads are not factors in time trials, it is impossible to build a good setup using this mode alone.
The best way to operate is to find an initial setup using time trials, and then to switch to Grand Prix mode to actually test it out.
GRAND PRIX: Take your setup to a real race to test it out properly
This way you will get a far better picture of the way the setup will actually behave in race conditions.
Finding your baseline
When developing setups, the most important thing to achieve is a car which feels comfortable for you to drive. The best way to consistently find such a car is to find your baseline setup.
A baseline setup is a generic list of settings which you know suit you. For instance, all of my setups begin with 100% brake pressure and 50% brake bias. This is because I know that I will almost always prefer my brakes to be set up in this way.
BRAKES: A very important part of any F1 car
Your baseline setup should work fairly well for you at almost every track on the calendar. Once you’ve found it, you can start from this point when developing new setups for different tracks. This means that you won’t have to start all the way from scratch every time.
Changing one thing at a time
If you have a setup which isn’t working at all, don’t simply change everything at once in an attempt to make your car go faster. If you do, you won’t know which settings improved your car even if it does actually get better.
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Instead, you should identify the areas that are most likely to be the problem, and change one of these at a time.
For example, if you’re struggling with an oversteering car, the best place to look to change your car is your wing angles. Lowering your front wing angle while raising the rear will help get rid of the oversteer.
LITTLE BY LITTLE: Small changes can have big results
If changing your wings didn’t help, then you can alter another aspect of the setup, such as your suspension settings.
Patience is key
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect.
It’s unlikely that your first setups will be top quality. If the first setup you try out for your car feels awful, don’t let your head drop. Instead, use the information you’ve learned about which settings don’t work for you.
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Persevering by driving lap after lap, while altering your setup slightly between each run is the best way to go. However, if you don’t have the time or energy to sweat it out for a whole race distance worth of laps in time trials then that's okay. Some setups only need to be good enough.
TRANSMISSION: One of the simpler parts of the car's setup
Remember, perfection cannot be achieved in car setups. Each driver likes their car to behave in a slightly different way. Some prefer a stable car that’s a little on the slower side, whereas others like their car to challenge them every step of the way.
If you’re comfortable driving your car, and you aren’t a second a lap slower than usual, then you’ve done all the work you need to do.