The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is a street circuit around Albert Park Lake, only a few kilometres south of central Melbourne. It is used annually as a racetrack for the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. Although the entire track comprises normally public roads, each sector includes medium to high speed characteristics more commonly associated with dedicated racetracks facilitated by grass and gravel run-off safety zones that are reconstructed annually.
However, the circuit also has characteristics of a street circuit’s enclosed nature due to concrete barriers annually built along the Lakeside Drive curve, in particular, where run-off is not available due to the proximity of the lake shore. Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver at Albert Park, scoring four wins (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004). In recent years both Ferrari and Mercedes have taken wins in the turbo hybrid era, illustrating the unique nature of the track.
On F1 2019, this may be a tricky track to master with times ranging from the 1:20’s to the 1:26-7’s. The following guide has been optimised for Full TCS and produced a time of 1:21.978 on Time Trial.
Ultimately, this part of the setup describes the level of downforce. Higher wing angles provide better grip but at the cost of the straight line speed. Most people set their wing angles lower front wing than rear wing. Purely for the reason that it gives you a little more speed down the back straight and the rear end grips when you really need to load up those rear tyres. If you’re very tyre life conscious and are planning a race setup, then you can put your front wing angle a little higher.
That being said, Australia is very easy on its tyres and a nice balance of 4 on the front wing aero and 7 on the rear wing gives you the grip you need through the high speed corners at the end of sector 2. In a race this setup warms tyres up super fast through loading heavily and the aero helps massively with this.
READ MORE: Beginner’s Guide
The transmission section is about how the power is deployed through the rear wheels and into the tarmac. With 16 turns this is one of the most important parts of your setup. As you will spend a lot of your time on throttle I have opted for a nice open (unlocked) differential on throttle. This gives newer players the opportunity to put the power down with ease no matter the Traction control setting. As you can see, I have gone with 50%, but in all honesty this could vary from 50 to 60%.
The off-throttle differential describes how free the wheels are to rotate when you are not on the power. This is important when cornering. On average, you are looking at a lot of 45 degree corners round Albert park. With this you don’t want the car sliding out wide particularly during Sector 3 when those high speed corners can catch you out easily. 85% means your tyres rotate at the same speed on corner exit, potentially adding to your tyre wear but increases your ability to carry more speed through the higher speed corners. Newer players could open this up slightly.
Ok, here me out on this one. Looking at the camber and toe there you might be forgiven for thinking I’ve gone mad. Those who are used to the “pro” setups in F1 2018 may be accustomed to why I have gone with this. As you may have read these are consistently fastest for one lap pace in Codemasters games, but have the tendency to ruin tyre life in a race…. However, this is not taking into consideration all other parts of the setup.
To break it down, camber and toe describes the ability of the car to turn in, maxing out front and rear camber (-2.50, -1.00/ 0.05, 020) makes the car super responsive but quite heavy on its tyres. But when you look at the fact we have the differential fully open that load on the tyres is reduced, the aero is also nicely balanced so this Geometry can take a tyre long past its life while still giving the user competitive laptimes.
Suspension is often meat of the setup and potentially the one people fiddle with the most due to the sheer number of variables at play. By definition therefore it is also the part of the setup that is most user defined and something you should definitely tweak.
That being said, lets break down why I believe this is best way of setting it up for someone newer to the game. Front suspension needs to be soft. There’s a lot of kerb to ride in Australia so having a nice soft suspension on both the front and rear means you can properly attack the corners and not worry about losing the back end. Codemasters have definitely dialled back on the kerbs this year by enhancing the effect of the suspension variables. 2-3 gives you enough stability.
Roll bars are another setup option that helps with responsiveness and turn in, if I had stiffened them up more I could probably go faster in a Time Trial scenario. This being said, with the suspension geometry I elected for softening this up increases your tyre life more and just prevents any oversteer from creeping into your car. 4-6 is the best way to ensure consistent gameplay.
READ MORE: All F1 2019 track guides
The ride height I have chosen was 4-2. This took a lot of trial and error as logically I thought a higher suspension would help me ride the bumps, and it did. But having the car this much closer to the ground in this game even for new players shouldn’t impact under or oversteer and just gives you that touch more responsiveness.
Stopping power on F1 2019 is vital, miss your breaking zone by a millisecond and it costs you up to a second or even more. Most of your setups in 2019 should have a higher brake pressure generally. Too much and it can mess with your head slightly. I have gone with that balanced 87% as from experience it gives you more braking effect without risking either locking tyres (ABS dependant) or giving you a wide braking range during the race. What I mean by this is late braking at the start of your stint and early braking at the end when your tyres are going off.
Front brake bias is one of the few tools you can alter mid race, and for a good reason. It’s not the most important setup tool. Equally, with a track like Australia where responsive turn in is vital as we have discussed earlier placing the bias reward as I have (51%) can mean that in a race you always have a light, slippery car that glides from corner to corner, sector to sector.
READ MORE: All F1 2019 setup guides
Tyre wise, your pressure is simple to explain. The lower the pressure, the quicker the car can deliver its power. Given that the car has been setup primarily in all its other facets for responsiveness and agility you need a level of stability with the pressures and having them slightly higher also helps with tyre degradation that the camber and toe are pushing in the other direction. 23.8 PSI for the front and 21.9 PSI on the rear is a fair compromise.
Overall, it’s a radical setup for a radical track. A one-off approach for a one-off piece of tarmac. Responsiveness is the key on a street circuit and using the tried and tested pro’s approach with some compromise along the way is my view on optimising your results on one of F1’s most difficult and demanding tracks.
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