How To Get Started In F1 2019 – 7 Beginners Tips
To get the most enjoyment out of Codemasters F1 2019, it’s important to have a good knowledge of the different aspects of this simulation racer. In this beginners tips guide, we will run though the top tips to get you off the line.
F1 2019 is the official game of the Formula One World Championship produced by sim racing specialists Codemasters. It is the most realistic recreation of the sport to date, boasting the best car physics and improved graphics. In this iteration you will be able to live your dreams of working your way from Formula 2 through to becoming world champion in Formula 1.
If you have played previous iterations of Codemaster sim racer you might already know a lot of the tips we’ve listed below. If that is the case, we have much more comprehensive guides such as how to perfect your car setup or how to improve your lap time.
Learn The Tracks
One of the first and most important things you can do in F1 2019 is to try to roughly learn the track layout. It is a vital part of putting in lightening fast lap times and racing competitively.
To start however, learning the rough layout is one of the first things you should try to do at the start of a race weekend. In career mode you get access to up to 3 practice sessions which should be used to learn a track.
We would recommend enabling the dynamic racing line in assists as this shows you the best line, and when to brake in to corners. It is a true life saver when looking to learn a track quickly. Even if you roughly know the layout of a track, the dynamic racing line will help you better optimise your braking and acceleration points through every corner.
Once you are comfortable that you know the track well enough, we would recommend disabling the dynamic racing line as early as you can. This way, when driving without the racing line you will start to use other objects as braking reference points.
Objects such as marker boards, digital flags and bridges are all great reference points for braking zones.
Other than the racing line, we would simply recommend driving a particular track as much as you can. Spend time during practice sessions or utilise the time trial game mode to practice the best line around a track.
Another aspect to learn around a track would be the DRS zones. There are generally 2 or 3 DRS (Drag Reduction System) zones on every track, and these limit the amount of rear wing drag you receive. When you drive into a DRS zone you can activate DRS, which will open a slot in your rear wing. This will make your car accelerate faster down a straight. Don’t worry about disengaging DRS as it will automatically disengage when you brake.
Driving assists are designed to make the game more accessible for less experienced players, and should absolutely be used to learn the game.
At their most basic level, driving assists can automate almost the entire racing process, from automatic braking to gear shifting. We would recommend shying away from options such as braking assist as this will teach you bad habits which will be hard to lose.
To start with, we would recommend keeping traction control set to full, ABS on, the racing line on, gearbox to automatic, pit entry and release to on and ERS management to automatic. These settings wont help you slow the car down so you’ll still be required to brake. You’ll also need to accelerate and steer your F1 car just like a real car.
The traction control will stop your car from spinning out exiting corners and the racing line will help you learn the track. If you are finding the car too difficult to control at this stage, try enabling the braking assist which will slow your car when approaching corners.
As you get more comfortable, you can try lowering the traction control setting to get a more raw feel to the game. Be prepared to start feathering the throttle out of corners so you don’t spin out. You should gradually turn assists off one by one as you improve. That way you can monitor what each assist does. We wouldn’t recommend turning everything off at once as this can be overwhelming and frustrating.
Eventually you will feel confident enough to run without any assists, and that day will be a very satisfying one! From that day on wards you can start to chase the very best lap times, and start to increase the AI difficulty. From here on good times are ahead!
Race Weekend Guide
If you aren’t overly familiar with Formula 1 as a racing series, you may need a little introduction to the format. A race weekend is held across 3 days and follows a similar format to other racing series.
The Friday allows the teams two practice sessions. These should be used to learn a track, learn the best racing line, improve your time and complete any setup work you would like to do on the car.
Saturday has another practice session for any final tweaks and then on to qualifying. Qualifying is set out into 3 sessions. The first session, every driver takes part. The goal is to set the fastest lap time possible, and avoid the elimination zone. After the first session, the five slowest drivers are eliminated from qualifying, and they will start the race from the positions they qualified.
Then there is a second qualifying session where the remaining 15 drivers try to set the fastest lap time once again. After this session the next 5 slowest drivers are eliminated. This leave the final 10 drivers to have a shoot out for qualifying in a third and final session.
Once qualifying is completed, the race weekend moves on to Sunday, where the race takes place. All drivers start the race where they qualified.
Learn The Correct Racing Line
As mentioned above, learning the correct racing line is one of the keys to getting a fast lap time around any circuit. When you drive the same line every lap you will also learn consistency which will help you during your race.
The best way to learn the racing line early on is to use the dynamic racing line assist. This will show you the best route around the track. Don’t rely too heavily on the dynamic racing line however as it doesn’t take in to account all factors.
Instead, as soon as you are confident enough to turn off the racing line do so. You can then progress to find your own braking points. Another tool which is helpful is using ghosts in time trial. By setting a faster ghost than yourself you will see the line which the fastest drivers are taking.
Hit The Corner Apex
Throughout my racing experience, there is one phrase that I’ve heard more than any other. Slow in, fast out.
This couldn’t be more true for almost all corners. If you brake too late for a corner or enter with too much speed, only one thing is going to happen. You will run wide and compromise your exit speed.
The real trick to executing a fast lap time is speed through the corners. Being able to maintain a good level of speed through a corner is the real trick here. And hitting the apex of every corner is where it begins. By positioning your car out wide on corner entry, cutting across the track and hitting the apex you are shortening the corner.
The key to being able to hit the apex is to pick your braking point. When you first start, using the dynamic racing line helps give a good idea as to when to brake. Once you get confident you know your braking points you can turn off the racing line. At this stage we would recommend using markings around the track as braking references.
One thing you need to prepare for during a race weekend, is that your braking point wont always be the same. Factors such as tyre wear, weather and fuel levels will all affect your braking distance.
As a general rule of thumb, the following will affect your braking distance;
- Worn tyres – As your tyres wear, your braking distance will increase
- Fuel load – When you start a race with full fuel your braking distance will increase
- Fuel load – As you get towards the end of a race and your fuel levels are lower your braking distances will decrease
- Weather – Wet weather will dramatically increase your braking distance
When you get your braking point right and enter the corner you may start to encounter oversteer or understeer. Oversteer is when the back end of your car starts to lose grip. This can cause your car to spin out. Understeer is when your car doesn’t grip at the front, and doesn’t turn in to the corner properly. Your car will tend to go straight on rather than turning properly.
To correct oversteer you should lift off the throttle during the corner, and if needed you can shift down a gear to stabilise the car. To correct understeer you should lift off the brake pedal slightly, and try shifting down a gear before the corner apex. This should help rotate the car.
Ultimately you should try to address oversteer and understeer in your car setup. Choosing and creating the correct setup for the situation will help your car be more drive-able. Read our complete F1 2019 car setup guide here.
One final note is that, whilst hitting the apex is important. Some tracks have very large kerbs. If you run over an overly large kerb, your car will become unsettled and could spin. If you feel this happening try to avoid the kerb whilst getting as close as you can in future laps.
Perfecting Your Race Start
Getting off of the line safely and quickly is key to setting up a good race. It is much easier to gain positions at the start than at any other point during the race. Drivers are grouped together so getting past 2 or 3 drivers at once is a strong possibility. Unfortunately the same is true about losing positions. If you fail to get a good start you can easily find yourself a few places down on where you qualified.
The key to a good start is managing your revs and throttle. Utilising manual starts with a clutch will help you manage the wheel spin you get on launch. Wheel spin is the one thing you want to avoid. If you start to spin the rear wheels you will lose time and places at the start. If you give it too much throttle you could even spin your car straight off the line.
As the lights are lighting up, try to keep your revs around 11,000 – 12,000. Within this range should give you good traction off of the line, and wont spin the rear wheels. When the lights go out, keep the throttle at around 65-75% and slowly increase your throttle input as you increase speed.
Try to shift up to 2nd gear reasonably early, before you hit the rev limiter, then once again up to 3rd gear. Once you are in 3rd gear you should be at almost full throttle and safely away from the line.
Once you have navigated your launch, you then need to ensure you keep out of trouble as the grid bunches up at the first corner. Remember to brake early in to the first corner, and try to avoid contact.
We have written a whole guide on how to perfect your race starts. Read our guide here.
How To Overtake Well
The video above shows the basics of overtaking in F1 2019. Simply put, you want to position your car in to another drivers slipstream, utilise your DRS and set your ERS mode in to overtaking mode. Once you have done this and start to pull up the back of a car, you should pull alongside a driver on the inside, and brake later in to the corner.
Overtaking is such a key aspect of Formula 1, that you need to quickly learn how to do it well. You have a few key weapons in your arsenal to perform the perfect overtake.
The first is the Drag Reduction System (DRS). This will open a slot in your rear wing if you are within a DRS zone and less than a second behind the driver in front. This gives you a large advantage as you will have less drag than the car in front allowing you to close the gap between you and them. It is important to try and stay within 1 second of the car ahead before passing in to a DRS zone so it activates properly.
The second is your ERS mode. Your Engine Recovery System (ERS) is designed to give you extra electronic power throughout a race. You can change your ERS mode to provide different levels of power at different stages. You can’t always run in the highest mode as you only have limited ERS throughout a lap. You typically want to keep your ERS to medium throughout a race. When you are ready to overtake you can increase the deployment to overtake mode. This will give you extra power helping you drive past the car in front.
Utilising DRS and ERS together when attacking will give you a huge advantage when approaching the car in front.
As you approach the car in front you want to try and position your car on the inside of them approaching the corner. Moving to the inside will give you the ability to control how you both drive around the corner. You will have the advantage as you can squeeze out the driver you are passing.
Try to brake later than the driver you are attacking to give you another advantage, but be careful. Thanks to DRS and ERS you will be travelling faster than you normally would on a regular lap. This will mean you potentially need to brake sooner than usual other wise you could miss the corner.
Once you are alongside the car in front and have navigated the braking zone be sure to leave the other driver enough room on the track otherwise you may collide. A collision will hurt both of your races and you could even get a penalty. Stick to the inside of the corner as you exit and try to get a better drive off of the turn.
Slowly pull back to the racing line once you know you are in front.
Advanced Overtaking Techniques
The video above shows an example of an advanced overtaking maneuver. The goal of attacking the driver in front isn’t to simply go for the obvious option. The defending driver will be expecting drivers to attack down the inside of the corner. However if you combine fake moves with quick direction changes you can confuse the driver in front. By attacking with a level of surprise you become unpredictable, giving you an advantage.
As I approach the car in front I pull to the inside so the driver in front believes I am attacking down the inside. As the other driver pulls to defend the inside line I switch to the outside and take the racing line of the corner. This puts me in position to hold the inside line of the second part of the chicane.
Because the driver in front defended the inside they needed to brake heavy to slow down for the corner, which allowed me to pull around the outside.
You can practice moves like this in grand prix weekends, and find your favourite spots on every track to overtake.
How To Time Your Pit Entry
Timing your pit entry is must learn ability during races. If you enter the pit lane too fast you will get an automatic penalty. You need to slow down to a certain speed, usually 37mph, before you enter the pit lane. This is track specific as every track has a different pit entry.
During practice sessions you simply need to practice going in to the pit lane. Find where the pit lane entry is on a certain track. It’s always marked by white lines on a track. And practice slowing down before the line. As you enter the pit lane an overlay will appear showing your speed and the distance to the line. Use this to time your entry.
If you don’t want to worry about pit entry management you can enable the assist to do this for you. The video above shows how to correctly approach the pit lane and slow down in time to avoid getting a speeding in the pit lane penalty at the Italian F1 track.
Managing Your Car
The video above shows how to change the ERS and engine modes to manage the overall power output of your car.
Throughout a race, you will have to manage both your fuel mix and your ERS. To start with you can turn on automatic ERS management in the assists. This way you only have to focus on fuel mix.
Fuel mix dictates how much fuel your car is using. The more fuel you use the more power your car has. There are three engine modes during a race, lean, standard and rich.
Lean mix – Fuel saving mode. You will save fuel when driving at the cost of less power.
Standard mix – The standard fuel mode. Your fuel level should remain balanced while having regular power output.
Rich mix – The fastest engine mode giving you the most power. This will drain your fuel level faster.
If you run in rich mix too long you will use up too much fuel and wont have enough to complete the race. This stops you from running in rich mix for the whole race. Generally you will be running in standard mix, however if you have open road ahead of you we’d recommend running in rich mix. This will give you a power advantage to put in some quick laps.
If you are comfortable in your race position, or leading a race you may look to run in lean mix. This will conserve fuel giving you more time to run in rich mix later on in the race.
Once you’ve nailed the fuel mix, you can disable the ERS auto management. This will give you full control of your ERS deployment. In a similar way to fuel mix you can save ERS by using a lower deployment mode, and you can get more power by turning it up. ERS is different in the fact that it is built up through engine recovery and will naturally build up during a lap.
If you run in a high mode you will use up all of your ERS fairly quickly. You will then need to turn down ERS to build it back up before you can deploy it again.
Creating A Car Setup
Once you have a good understanding of the basic techniques above you can start to progress on to more complex parts of Formula 1. Setting up your car for a specific track helps the drive-ability and speed of your driving. You can adjust a variety of aspects such as the amount of aerodynamics you are running, to how your car behaves exiting a corner.
When learning how to setup your car, there is no harm in copying other drivers. Generally the quickest lap times on the leaderboards will be utilising some of the quickest setups. There is no harm of jumping in to time trial and downloading some of the quickest setups. This is a great way to see how the car has been setup.
If you want to learn how to setup your car we would recommend reading our complete F1 2019 setup guide.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best assists to start F1 2019 with?
We would recommend keeping traction control and ABS set to their highest settings, as well as using the dynamic racing line so you can learn each track.
Will a custom car setup make me quicker?
Ultimately yes. A custom setup will make your car quicker, however to begin we would recommend trying to learn the other aspects of F1 2019 before creating a setup.
Is it harder to drive with a wheel or controller?
Driving with a wheel is very different to a controller. It allows experienced drivers much more control over steering and throttle inputs than a controller. However some find using a controller much easier than a wheel and can still achieve very fast lap times.
How do I not jump the race start?
The race start is so important. When using manual starts you must hold the clutch button until the red lights go out. Then release the clutch and you will pull away like normal.