While the process of actually shifting gears isn’t at all difficult, it does require some extra brain power.
You have to bear in mind your current gear and which gear you want to switch to for the next corner. You'll also have to focus on getting your up-shifts right when accelerating.
Once you have managed to make the switch though, you will find that you have a great deal more control over your car than you had with automatic gears.
Use manual and suggested gear mode
The first thing to remember when turning on manual gears is that F1 2020 has an assist setting called ‘manual and suggested gear’.
FIRST STEP: Manual and suggested gear mode can be enabled in the assists menu
With this setting enabled, you will have to shift gears yourself. However, you will be given a small prompt next to your current gear which suggests the gear you ought to change to for the upcoming corner.
This can really help to bridge the gap between fully automatic and fully manual gears. After a while, you’ll find yourself learning which kind of corners require which gears.
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After a few laps of any given track with this setting, you probably won’t even have to look at the suggested gear anymore.
Start out at a familiar track
The next thing to do is to start with a track that you are comfortable with. The more familiar the better. This is useful because much of the driving will be second nature to you, allowing you to focus more specifically on the gears.
REAR END: The gearbox is located towards the back of an F1 car
Moreover, there is a large straight between most of the braking zones. This gives you plenty of time to work out which gear you will want to be in for the next corner.
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If you can regularly nail it on a familiar, simple circuit, it will be that much easier to get it right on the tougher ones afterwards.
Practice makes perfect
As with everything in life, manual gears get easier with practice. The first few laps you drive on any track will be frustrating and you’ll feel very clunky at the wheel.
WEAR AND TEAR: With manual gears you'll be able to look after your gearbox better
It won’t be long, though, until you find that switching gears comes as naturally to you as turning the wheel or pushing the pedals.
A couple of days I initially started using manual gears, I tried doing a race in automatic. I found myself manually changing gear even when I didn’t need to. If you are willing to work at it, it will come naturally to you as well in no time at all.