How To Create The Best Car Setup in F1 2019 – Ultimate Setup Guide

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F1 2019 setup guide - Learn how to setup your car

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We run you through every element of your car setup and how each part affects your car. These tips should help you optimise the best setup for every track and situation.

There are many ways to improve your lap time in F1 2019. We detailed the best ways to drive faster in our drive faster guide. One key aspect to quicker laps in this years game is to utilise the best setup for the situation.

A good setup will not only improve your lap times, but will also help consistency as the car will be easier to control. If you are driving long grand prix weekends, you can even optimise your car setup to focus on specific goals. If you are planning a long stint on a set of tyres, tune your car setup to focus on improved tyre wear. If you are expecting a wet race you can setup your car to be able to cope with this.

Aerodynamics Setup

F1 2019 Australia Aerodynamic Setup

The aerodynamics are one of the key aspects of your overall car setup, as they dictate how much front and rear wing downforce you will generate.

This downforce is ultimately the deciding factor to how much grip you will have around corners. And it also affects how fast your car will be on straights and how much drag you generate. Too much downforce and you will be slow on the straights. Too little downforce and you will struggle to find grip and speed around corners.

The goal is to try and set the aerodynamic setup to as low as possible without compromising your grip around corners.

If you feel the car not turning in to the corners or drifting out too wide mid corner you can add front wing downforce. This will aid initial turn in to corners, and help the front end stay planted to the road mid corner.

Alternatively, if you experience a loose rear end through medium to high speed corners you can add rear wing downforce. This will stop the rear of the car from feeling loose mid corner and on exit.

Generally a solid aerodynamic setup would be to have the front wing set 1 point higher than the rear. This will enable good front end grip through corners while alleviating some of the drag that the rear wing creates.

There are exceptions to this rule. Tracks such as Canada which is made up of fast sweeping left right corners require a grippy rear end. If you have too little rear downforce on a track like this, the shifting weight through fast sweeping corners will loosen the rear end. This could cause you to struggle for speed and stability mid corner.

Tracks such as the Chinese F1 circuit will require much lower levels of overall downforce than a track such as Monaco. The long straight on Shanghai will limit the amount of downforce you can run. Whereas Monaco will allow you to run extremely high levels of downforce due to the lack of any real straight.

Ultimately, this is a balancing act between the amount of grip you require and the amount of top speed you need.

Transmission Setup

F1 2019 Australia Transmission Setup

The differential settings are another key element to the overall car setup in F1 2019. These two setup option will drastically affect how your car accelerates out of every corner and how it behaves mid corner.

The differential essential dictates how both rear wheels rotate in conjunction with each other. A locked differential will force both rear wheels to rotate at the same speed as each other no matter the circumstance. An open differential will allow both rear wheels to rotate individually of each other to a certain degree.

0 (open) differential = This allows both rear wheels to spin at completely different speeds, independant of each other.
100 (locked) differential = This locks both rear wheels to spin at the same speed.

Opening up the on-throttle differential will decrease tyre wear and give a more gradual loss of traction. This will make the car much easier to drive out of corners, with the rear tyres spinning up a lot less often.

Closing the on-throttle differential will do the opposite. It will give you much better drive and acceleration out of certain corners at the expense of potentially spinning up the rear tyres. This will increase tyre temperatures and significantly increasing tyre wear.

Increasing the amount of on-throttle differential will help you accelerate out of corners on tracks such as Abu Dhabi, where you can accelerate hard in a straight line.

If you are facing a wet race, lower the on-throttle differential will help you gain traction in slippy conditions.

The off-throttle differential dictates how the rear tyres spin when you aren’t applying the throttle. While you are entering a corner off throttle, your car is still applying some power to the rear wheels and engine braking. Off-throttle dictates how balanced the car is on corner entry and mid corner.

A lower value here, or more open off throttle stup will loosen the car when turning in to a corner. This gives you more turn in ability, at the expense of a looser rear end. Closing, or locking the off throttle differential will make the car more stable, yet more likely to understeer through a corner.

The goal with the transmission setup is to unlock or open the on-throttle differential as far as you can without losing too much drive out of a corner. The more open the differential, the sooner and harder you can accelerate. Whilst with the off-throttle differential, keeping it balanced at around 70% is a great starting point.

Suspension Geometry Setup

F1 2019 Australia Suspension Geometry Setup

Moving on to the suspension geometry, we’re now setting up how the responsive and stable the car is. It is important to setup the suspension geometry correctly to gain maximum tyre performance. Incorrect settings here will also affect your overall tyre wear.

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The amount of camber a car has dictates how much of the tyre contact patch is touching the road. More negative camber points the bottom of the wheels away from the center of the car. This will typically give you higher levels of grip around a corner when the car is leaning on the tyre. However the more negative camber you add, the lower the levels of traction will be during and exiting corners.

If you setup the car with too much camber you will find yourself losing traction when trying to accelerate out of corners. This is because there is less rubber touching the road so you have less ultimate grip in a straight line.

If you have too little camber however you will have more rubber touching the road. This means you will be putting more heat through your tyres. Across a single hot lap, generally you want to take as much camber out of the setup as possible to ensure maximum grip and traction. This isn’t always advised in a full grand prix weekend as you will burn through tyres much quicker.

Finding the right levels of camber is a tricky task, but one you ideally need to optimise for long races. It really is a balance between grip and tyre wear.

The toe dictates the angle at which the tyres point in or out from the center of the vehicle. Adding front toe will make the car more responsive as you will get better turn in. This comes at the expense of making the car less stable. You should add as much toe as you can handle. If you find the car becomes a little skittish then remove some front toe.

Adding extra toe on the rear of the car will have the opposite affect from the front. More toe will stabilise the car at the cost of it being less responsive.

You will often find the fastest setups set both the front and rear toe to its minimum setting as this is typically the fastest setup.

Suspension Setup

F1 2019 Australia Suspension Setup

The overall suspension setup will be what ultimately decides how your car handles around corners and over bumps. You have full control over how soft or stiff you can set your car up and this is very track dependant.

The front and rear suspension options are your overall stiffness settings. If you tune your car to be too stiff you wont be able to ride kerbs and bumps as easily. The car will simply bounce harshly off of bumps and reduce overall stability. However if you are driving a very flat track you may want to opt for a stiffer setup.

Stiffness increases the aerodynamic stability as your car wont be moving around as much under braking and acceleration. However the car will be twitchy if it is over sprung, meaning it could be hard to drive.

Softness increases how well the car handles bumps and kerbs, but can cause instability under heavy control inputs. Accelerating or turning too harshly will un-stabilise the car, resulting in a possible spin.

Ride Height Setup

Your ride height is completely down to the track you’re driving. You want to set this to as low as you can get away with without the bottom of the car rubbing the ground. The lower your ride height the stronger the impact on your aerodynamic performance will be. The car will handle better in almost all areas of the track. However if you go too aggressive and too low, your car could bottom out over bumps which will decrease your straight line speed.

Over compensating and setting your ride height too high will increase overall drag, once again slowing your straight line speed. It’ll also reduce your overall aero performance, giving you less grip around corners.

One thing to note is whether you’re driving in wet conditions. If it is raining there will be a layer of water on the track resulting in a higher chance of the car bottoming out. And to make matters worse, if your car bottom out in the rain you can be subject to aquaplaning. Your tyres wont have good enough contact with the road and you will lose all grip.

You should increase your ride height by 2-3 notches if you are expecting a rainy race, as well as altering your aerodynamic and suspension setup.

Ultimately, in dry conditions you want to set the lowest ride height you can without the car bottoming out.

Brakes Setup

F1 2019 Australia Brakes Setup

Getting your brake setup right will really help when trying to optimise how late you can brake. Also your brake balance is crucial if you are braking whilst turning as this will send weight to different parts of the car.

The brake pressure is fairly simple. The higher the setting, the more pressure is applied when you touch the brakes. This potentially slows the car down quicker but with the risk of locking a wheel. Setting the brake pressure is measure of your confidence and ability on the brakes. If you find yourself locking up in to certain corners or want a slightly more relaxed setup we’d suggest lowering the pressure. This will however cause longer braking distances.

You want to set the brake pressure as high as you can without experience lock ups. Lock ups will wear your tyres out quicker, but luckily unlike in real life you wont flat spot your tyre.

On the flip side, if you find you are locking your front wheels too often but don’t want to compromise your braking distance you can tweak the brake bias. The brake bias will affect how much braking energy goes through the front and rear of the car. If you have a high brake bias above 60 you will be sending a large amount of that braking to the front of the car. This is good in heavy braking situations as the front of the car will have more downforce under heavy braking than the rear.

If you are braking for medium speed corners however, too much brake bias will cause more understeer. The front tyres aren’t able to cope with too much braking force and turning inputs simultaneously.

Evening out the brake bias closer to a 50:50 split will have the car braking more at the rear. This will help alleviate some of the pressure the front tyres are under and cause less tyre lock ups.

Finding a balance with the braking and suspension setups is key to maximising grip in to and during corners.

Tyre Pressures

F1 2019 Australia Tyre Setup

You will generally find most setups in F1 2019 keep the tyre pressures fairly standard. Adjusting the tyre pressure affects how much air is in the tyres. the lower the pressures, the softer the tyre becomes as it will be less inflated. Higher tyre pressures on the other hand stiffen the tyre and reduce the size of the rubber contact patch.

Reducing the tyre pressures has a similar affect to softening the car suspension. Setting the tyre pressures also affects the rate a tyre will wear out. Increasing the tyre pressure results in higher rate of wear as more force is being applied to the surface of the tyre. If you are struggling for traction or grip and don’t want to adjust the differential you can always take a little tyre pressure out of the rear to increase the grip exiting a corner.

We would recommend leaving this setting alone unless you are really trying to reduce tyre wear or car stiffness.


As mentioned above, the key to a great setup is combining all elements together. As well as knowing how to setup certain elements to work well with each other. Below we’ve listed a brief overview of each setup item and the result each setting has on the car setup.


The amount of downforce generated at the front and rear of the car.

More front wing = more front end downforce = best for reducing understeer
More rear wing = more rear end downforce = more drag, but better car stability mid corner


More open setups make loss of traction more gradual at the expense of outright grip exiting a corner.

On-throttle differential = reduce for less tyre spin on corner exit = lower setting equal better tyre wear
Off-throttle differential = increase for more corner stability = higher chance of understeer

Suspension Geometry

Camber = Setting camber too high = Less traction out of corners
Camber = Setting camber too low = more overall grip but higher tyre wear
Front toe = More front toe = more responsive but less stable
Rear toe = More rear toe = more stable car but less responsive


Front & Rear suspension = Stiffer setups increase stability = car will be twitchy and hard to drive
Front & Rear suspension = Softer setups decrease stability = rides kerbs better
Ride height = Lower ride height decreases drag & improves aerodynamics = Too low and car could bottom out


Brake pressure = Higher brake pressure gives reduced brake distance = more chance to lock a wheel
Brake bias = Higher front bias means more aero under heavy braking = more understeer on turn in
Brake bias = Even brake bias gives less chance of locking a wheel = potentially longer brake distances

Tyre Pressures

Front & Rear pressures = Decrease for more traction out of corners = better tyre wear
Front & Rear pressures = Increase for increased stability & stiffness = more tyre wear

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Article written by Rich

Co-Founder of

Rich is the co-founder, and one of the main F1 setup creators and content writers for SimRacingSetups. With over a decade of experience as a graphic designer, marketing director, competitive sim racer and avid motorsport fan, Rich founded to share his passion and knowledge of sim racing and Formula 1 with other sim racers.

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