7 Ways To Improve Your Lap Times in F1 2019

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Improve Your Lap Time F1 2019

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Driving consistently on F1 2019 in itself is no mean feat. However hunting for that extra bit of lap time can be an even more frustrating task.

You may feel like you have extracted absolutely every bit of lap time of of a track… Yet still find yourself a good few seconds off the top times in the global leaderboards, or unable to compete with 100% AI. This is a frustration that many F1 2019 gamers experience throughout their time with the game.

We want to help you improve your lap time, and have put together a list of 7 things you can do to be faster in F1 2019.

Accelerating Quicker Out Of Corners

Something that seems so un-natural at first is accelerating through the corners. Most racers, including myself started off by braking up to the corner, getting off the brake and throttle to coast around the apex, then start to accelerate as you exit the turn.

At first, this is absolutely the right approach. It helps you learn the track, your braking points and the correct line through the corner.

Once you are comfortable with the correct racing line throughout each corner you can start to push the limits, both in braking and accelerating. Braking later, and trial braking is much easier to learn than accelerating sooner. Accelerating at an earlier point through the corner feels strange at first, and requires a deft touch.

Getting this aspect of your driving style correct is the key to unlocking lap time.

If you watch any videos of professional e-racers or those gamers topping the leaderboards you will see how early they are on the throttle. They are on the throttle almost as soon as they release the brake leaving almost no coasting time in the middle.

You can see in the video above how early I get on the throttle. Even before I reach the apex of the first turn I am on the throttle. I continue to accelerate through both corners, maximising my speed out of the corner.

You will notice however that these guys feather the throttle application perfectly. If you hit the throttle hard during the corner, you will spin up your tyres and lose traction immediately.

Instead you should practice applying half throttle as soon as you hit the apex. Then keeping that throttle level applied until your car is straight enough to accelerate hard. Once you have the feel for this approach you can start to apply more throttle through various corners which allow.

Take the Australia circuit for example. This is a track which requires great traction out of every corner to achieve a quick lap. Many of the corners around Melbourne allow you to apply 50-75% throttle on or before the apex of the corner. This will dramatically improve your speed down each straight on this track, in turn aiding overtaking and ultimate lap time.

One thing to watch however is your gear selection. Accelerating earlier will cause your RPM to shoot up much sooner than usual. If you don’t shift at the correct times, your car will redline and once again spin up the tyres.

Whilst practicing 50% throttle application through each corner keep an ear out for your engine and try to short shift to avoid redlining. Once you have a good understanding as to how quick you need to change gear, you can run each gear closer to the limit before shifting.

Downshift An Extra Gear To Get Rotation

A great way to improve lap time is to brake a little later than usual. This will increase the amount of time you are at full throttle. However generally if you brake later than you should, you are in danger of missing the apex and compromising your exit.

To avoid this you can try to downshift an extra gear just before you hit the apex. This will help on two fronts. The first you will be using engine braking to slow the car down that little bit more, but secondly it’ll help the front of the car turn in.

You can see in the video above that I quickly shift down to 2nd gear to get the final bit of rotation before getting on the throttle and shifting back up to 3rd. This rotates the car that final bit and avoids the front from under-steering wide.

You will often find a selection of corners on any track where your car tends to understeer a little as you turn in. This method, when used sparingly could help alleviate some of that understeer. By down shifting just before the apex, your car will rotate towards the apex. Once rotated you can quickly shift back up to avoid too much engine braking. If you stay in that lower gear through the corner, you will lose some lap time due to engine braking.

The key is to shift down an extra gear just to get turn in to the corner. Then as soon as you are happy you have the front end grip, shift back up, whilst starting to build the revs. If you are finding you get enough grip and no understeer on turn in through various corners, I would avoid using this technique on those turns. It is only beneficial on the corners where you are losing front end grip, generally in heavy braking zones.

Combining this technique with the earlier acceleration technique above will reduce your braking distance, and increase the on throttle time. Both of these will have a dramatic effect on your lap time.

Use the whole width of the track

A very easy technique to work in to your driving is to expand the amount of track you are using. We see a lot of hot laps and race videos where the driver isn’t using the full width of the track on corner entry and exit.

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By approaching a corner from a wider angle and using all run off available on exit, you are essentially reducing the amount of angle you are required to turn. Generally the tighter the corner angle, the slower you need to drive around it. So limiting that angle will allow you to take corners at a higher speed.

Many tracks allow you to approach corners with one wheel over the outside kerb, without penalising the lap. This seems strange at first as you would think you need all four wheels on the track when braking.

You can see this technique in action above, where I am braking for turn 1 at Austria with my left wheels over the kerb. This doesn’t affect my braking distance and in turn reduces the corner angle. This lets me carry higher speed thorough the corner and get a better run up the long straight which follows.

However with corners such as turn 1 at Austria, you can brake with both left wheels over the left hand kerb. For fast corners where apex speed is critical this approach will always improve your mid corner speed.

The same applies on the exit of the corner. You may be cautious of accelerating out of a corner whilst two wheels are on the kerb. We hear it week in, week out when watching F1 on TV. Don’t touch the white lines or kerbs if you want maximum traction.

And whilst this is true, in the F1 2019 game environment, you can run over these kerbs with little consequence. Generally, running out on to the flatter kerb/rub off areas allow for a much better exit as the car is straighter soon.

Cut The Apex Of The Corner

Leading on from the above point, there are a lot of corners in F1 2019, where you can position your car over the apex. When we say over the apex, we don’t literally mean cut the whole corner as this will lead to invalidated lap times.

The video above shows this perfectly. I position my car over the apex of both turns in the chicane at Canada. This reduces the amount of steering input I need to use and increases my mid corner speed. Running this far over the apex didn’t invalidate my hotlap, and I gained a few tenths of a second in lap time.

This technique sounds counterproductive as normal F1 drivers don’t do this very often, if at all. However used on the right corner in F1 2019 can really help better your lap time.

This is a trick you will have to trial and learn on each individual track, as you wont be able to apply this method to all corners. However there are a wide selection of quicker corners across all tracks where this will help decrease that vital corner angle, and increase mid corner speed.

If you are approaching a medium to fast corner, where you need to get on the throttle fast, see if you can place your car over the apex kerb more than you usually would.

The last chicane at Canada Is a perfect example of this. Drivers on the real F1 grid have to drive around the kerbs on this corner due to large sausage kerbs. However in the F1 2019 game, the absolute quickest way through this fast chicane is to cut over the kerbs on both apexes as much as track limits allow.

Use Ghosts From Top Players On Time Trial

Following a ghost of a quicker driver will almost always help you achieve a quicker lap time in F1 2019. You will be able to see the line the quicker driver takes which in turn should allow you to learn the fastest line around the track.

The video above shows me using a faster driver’s ghost to see where I can improve my lap time.

Try to avoid jumping straight in and setting the quickest guys on the global leaderboards as your ghost. As unless you’re already very fast you will lose sight of the ghost and not really learn too much.

Ideally you want to pick a ghost who is up to a second faster than your best time. That way you should be able to see their car the whole way around the track whilst being able to clearly see their line and braking points.

Study The Quickest Lap Time Videos Online

There is however only so much you can learn from watching a ghost drive the track in front of you. You won’t necessarily be able to see when exactly they brake or how early they accelerate out of a turn.

This is where hot lap videos come in to play. Many of the quickest guys on the F1 2019 leaderboards are also active Youtubers or summer racers. Meaning that there are an abundance of hot lap videos from a selection of quick drivers.

Finding and watching these hot lap videos can be the key to learning a new line or the correct gear to be in around a corner.

Whilst watching these videos, be sure to take note of the throttle and brake indicator in the bottom right of the screen. This shows how hard and at what stages the driver is applying the throttle and brake.

Watching this indicator on the approach and exit of a corner will show you how early you can get back on the throttle and how much you can apply exciting a corner.

Learn How To Set up Your Car

F1 2019 Australia Suspension Geometry Setup

Our final tip would be to utilise custom car setups. You can view setups from the quickest drivers in the global leaderboards within F1 2019. However almost all of these setups will be focused on one lap pace, and aren’t particularly suitable for a full grand prix weekend.

We list the best F1 2019 car setups from around the F1 community. Included are setups specialised for tyre wear and long runs throughout an F1 weekend.

Using other peoples car setups is one of the best ways to learn what particular setup items do. When we started racing the F1 game series, we had no idea how to best setup a car from scratch. We found the best way for us to learn was from other racers.

When learning a track and how to set up for a particular track, we suggest jumping in to time trial and trialing a few of the setups on our website. This way you will get a consistent feel for how the setup affects your car without variables such as weather and tyre wear.

From there you can find what style setup works best for you, your car and the track and tweak the setup accordingly.

If you would like a comprehensive guide on how to set up your car in F1 2019, we have you covered. Read our complete setup up guide for F1 2019 which runs you through each setup option in detail, with examples.

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Article written by Rich

Co-Founder of SimRacingSetups.com

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 SimRacingSetup.com to share his passion and knowledge of sim racing and Formula 1 with other sim racers.

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