You’ve mastered the controls, you’re confident with your lines around the tracks and Braking Point is complete. But where do you go from here?
Now that you’ve checked out our beginners guide towards the latest in the Formula 1 series, it’s time to disable the assists and start decreasing those numbers. It’ll be a tough journey, but with some time and practice, you’ll be destroying the on-track competition.
To help you get there, we’ve asked a bunch of the top esports professionals within F1 2021 and compiled a full list for you to take advantage of.
Brake bias and differential settings in F1 2021
These were suggested by Ruben Vallejo and Lucas Blakely, as changing your brake bias and differential can save you tenths throughout every lap.
As with the real-world series, brake bias is constantly adjusted for just about every corner on a circuit. The driver is able to control how much braking balance is applied to the front and rear brakes through the bias. In F1 2021, this is shown as a percentage between 50% and 70%.
At 70%, the bias is moved to the front brakes and applies less force on the rear brakes, and vice versa at 50%. Too much bias and the car tends to lock the front tires up, but too little, and the car becomes unstable upon braking. Moving the bias forwards is suitable for hard braking zones that require the braking to be done in a straight line, such as Bahrain turn one. Moving the bias rearwards is suitable for corners that require trail braking, such as Stowe at Silverstone.
Lucas mentions the bias can be used to rotate or stabilise the car going into a corner, depending on if it is front or rearwards, and Ruben recommends keeping the bias towards the rear settings as it is generally quicker but requires a deft touch.
As for the differential, this setting unlocks or locks the axle power delivered to the rear wheels. An open differential means the rear tyres are freely available to turn at different speeds, which is ideal for a long corner, whereas a closed differential locks the rear tyres together at the same speed. This provides traction for both wheels, useful when exiting a corner.
Ruben recommends keeping the differential to 90 or 95 for slower corners, and Lucas states the differential can help improve traction or rotation on the throttle, improving the overall balance in the car.
Train in multiplayer lobbies for league races
When it comes to learning racecraft, the absolute best way is through multiplayer lobbies. Ewan Le Naour mentions how important their usage is, as jumping into a session that contains five laps is a good way to learn how to fight against other drivers.
The number of laps means you’re able to push your car to the absolute limits and perfect your racecraft. Read the cars ahead, find out the best place to overtake, and use this information to your advantage for future races.
As for longer length lobbies such as 25 per cent distance, these are best to test out different strategies on each track. Try out starting on the hard compound tyre and then switching to softs later on, or maybe even try adding extra fuel and pushing to the maximum for as many laps as possible. Find out what you’re comfortable with, and how beneficial it has been for your races.
All this practice will soon apply to the best place to learn, league racing. Leagues allow you to learn so much more than just racing others. It allows a more competitive and safer environment to race in, and also keeps you motivated throughout a season to push and practice more than you usually would. Lucas recommends trying out different setups and strategies before a league race, so you can maximise the perfect strategy before the lights go out.
Try trail braking
Lucas Blakely and Jonas Rütten both brought up the importance of trail braking. Simply put, trail braking involves balancing the brake pedal into and through the corners, leading to better car control and faster speed through a turn.
In Lucas’ words, trail braking allows you to unlock extra lap time under braking. As a general rule, do your hardest braking at the start of a braking zone when you have the most grip and downforce, then when you begin to approach the apex and start to win lock on, start to release the brake in a smooth and controlled manner, allowing the car to rotate naturally into the corner.
This is one of the most important techniques in racing, as it is worth a lot of lap time when perfected.
Jonas mentions that it’s really important to trail brake into certain corners. You should hold the brake as long as possible to rotate the car into a corner, so handling understeer is a lot more manageable.
Lean the car setup options
Almost everyone mentioned the importance of setups, and how to find one that’s right for yourself.
Valentin Brüffer references Time Trial as a useful resource to try out setups if you’re uncomfortable with exploring its complicated nature. The ability to use a rivals setup and see what’s different to yours is incredibly understated, as if it feels comfortable, you’re able to use it for yourself within other sessions.
Ruben Vallejo mentions every setup will have a lot of differences in the wing and downforce, and Matthijs van Erven notes that setups are all about testing, testing, and testing. See what works best for you, and work around that.
Ewan Le Naour states that you should try to understand the behaviour of your car and see what changes you can feel the effects of when changing a setup. A good setup that suits you can change everything. Try different and opposite settings, and see what’s comfortable and fast.
Patrik Sipos like the front suspension with a high front roll bar, but only works on most of the tracks available. The way he likes to use tyre pressures is mostly to the maximum pressure, with 2 clicks less on the front.
Now this entry doesn’t mean that you should be Tokyo drifting throughout every corner on the track, but these small rotations should be only just on the limit between grip and oversteer. Chucking the rear of the car slightly outwards can help control the car upon corner turn-in, leading to a quicker point when you can apply the throttle and faster lap times.
This will take time and practice to perfect the setup, brake bias and differential, so experiment with different settings to find that perfect spot.
Two of the drivers noted the importance and powerful nature of this drifting mechanic. Patrik mentions that drifting is overpowered and can gain a whole lot of time, and Ruben also states that a little drift can help rotate the car from the rear when going into a corner.
Now, remember, we’re talking about tiny oversteer rotations into the apex of a corner, so none of this 45 degreed drifting that leads to exploding tires…
Wet Weather Racing
It’s inevitable that the floodgates will open, and cause a slippery experience for all drivers on track. Lucas briefly mentions about the rain, saying you should be smooth and calculated. Overdriving will only make you slower.
With the real world of Formula 1, starting the race in 2nd gear on the grid is a well-known secret. This reduces wheelspin from the rear tires, and can lead to a faster launch upon lights out.
Higher gears should also be used throughout a race, especially during corner exit, as wheelspin can ruin your race. Apply the throttle more gently than usual, and try your best to keep your inputs as smooth as possible.
Remember, it’s better to lose a second per lap by taking it carefully, rather than losing an entire lap by pushing it too much. Make sure to practice this before you jump into a league or multiplayer race, as the unexpected can always pop up.
Learn from the best
The most important point on this entry, and one that should not be discounted by any means. There are plenty of resources nowadays that enables direct interaction with professionals in esports, including the F1 series. Your favourite driver will most likely be based on a video streaming platform, available to show you how they drive fast, and what they do to get ahead of the competition.
Valentin Brüffer tells us his main point, which is to watch the best players and look at what they do differently compared to yourself. But it’s also important to find out what’s best for you in terms of driving styles.
Ewan Le Naour mentions watching F1 Esports drivers content, such as hotlaps, full races and streams. Pay attention to the lines they take, and others such as how they’re using ERS. It’s a great way to learn new things and compare what you do to what they do. Also, they can give good setups, settings and advice.
A great example is Alex Gillon who plays F1 2021 on our Twitch channel every Thursday at 7 pm BST / 8 pm CEST.
Finally, watching a professional at their best is always an inspiration. Examining their methods to extract those tiny margins can save a whole load of time if applied to your style. Go out there, support your favourite driver, and watch them compete at a high level.
A big thank you goes out to every F1 Esports Professional we talked to. Links to their social media are as follows:
If you would like further F1 2021 game advice, leave a comment below!