Ultimate F1 2020 Setup Guide – Learn To Create The Best Car Setup

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F1 2020 Setup Guide

F1 2020 is officially here! We can all now virtually drive the full F1 season which never was in real life.

With a new F1 game, come a wide range of setup requests from drivers looking to give themselves the best in-game car setup. For those drivers, we have a wide range of F1 2020 car setups for every track, which you can find here.

There is also a big chunk of the player base who love to setup their own car, and create their own setups throughout a grand prix weekend. For those players, we have created the ultimate F1 2020 setup guide below.

In this guide we run you through every part of the car setup in the F1 2020 game. And we show you what each part of your setup does, and how you should adjust your setup to achieve the result you desire.

By setting up your car correctly, you can gain tenths of a second, if not more every lap. You can also adjust your car setup to be easier to drive across a full race. Or even make your tyres last longer.

In a nutshell, if you want to perform at the highest level, you need to have the best setup on your car in F1 2020. You can use the quick links below to jump to the section of your setup you wish to learn more about. Or read the whole guide below for a complete overview of every part of your setup.

Once you have read the guide below, which is a technical guide on what each setup option does in F1 2020. You should check out our step by step how to guide, running through the full process of creating a setup from scratch.

Quick Links


What’s different in car setups in F1 2020 vs F1 2019

The normal car setup format carries across from F1 2019 in to F1 2020. So those who are familiar with how to setup your car in F1 2019, you can carry a lot of your knowledge across to F1 2020.

There are still a few crucial changes that have been made. These changes have been made to the game physics and mechanics. And in turn these changes will cause you to setup your car slightly differently to normal.

When diving in to the car setup screen, you will immediately notice the updated tyre pressures setup options. You can now adjust the tyre pressure for each individual tyre. This is a nice improvement over only previously being able to adjust front and rear pressures.

This is a feature which has been lifted from true racing sims such as iRacing and Assetto Corsa Competizione. And it gives you the chance to address any heat issues that you run in to on tracks with more left or right turns.

This will be especially useful on tracks such as Zandvoort, which feature a high amount of stress on one side of the car. We’ll talk about this more in the tyre pressure section below.

Also, the game has changed slightly with smoother kerbs around a lot of the tracks. And a new system in place to stop players spamming downshifts to slow the car down unrealistically fast. These changes will cause us to setup both the suspension and brakes differently.


Aerodynamics Setup

The aero setup of your car in F1 2020 is where you change how much downforce your car fundamentally has. You can adjust both the front and rear wing downforce, just like in the previous game.

The higher you set the downforce angles, the more grip you will have through corners. You want to avoid setting this too high however, as the more downforce you have, the slower your car will be on the straights.

Both the front and rear downforce affect how much grip your car has in different ways.

F1 2020 Aerodynamic Setup Guide

Front downforce – More grip at the front of the car. Reduces the amount of understeer when turning in to corners. Gives a more responsive car at your front end.

Rear downforce – More grip at the rear of your car. Reduces the amount of wheelspin and oversteer while exiting corners.  Gives a more stable car during every part of the corner.

The ideal downforce setup is one where you are running the least amount of downforce as possible, without comprimising corner grip. A good way to test this is to set your downforce levels reasonably high. Run a few laps, then come in and reduce the amount of downforce.

Keep lowering the downforce until you reach a point where you start to lose grip and corner speed. This is the sweet spot.

Below are a few issues that can be fixed with the level of aerodynamics you are running.

Too much understeer – Increase front aero. Lower rear aero. We would advise adding extra downforce at the front of the car before removing rear downforce.

Too much oversteer – Increase rear aero levels. This will keep the rear wheels more planted in to the track, and give more grip on longer medium to fast corners.

As a general rule of thumb, most tracks will require a rear biased aero setup. This means running slightly more rear aero than the rear. Generally by one or two points.

Tracks which have long fast sweeping corners require a higher level of rear downforce. These include tracks such as Canada. This is because a lot of the speed around these style of tracks will come from maintaining traction at the rear of the car.

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We have found during our testing, that to maximise lap time around a track during time trial sessions. Higher downforce seems to work slightly better than the usual level of downforce that we were used to in F1 2019.

This is different from F1 2019, and generally we have been running our aero setup ever so slightly higher than in previous years.


Transmission Setup

The transmission setup in F1 2020 is solely affecting the differential of your car. This dictates your cars behaviour under acceleration, and even when you lift off the accelerator.

If you are encountering too much wheelspin and oversteer, this is a great place to address that issue.

F1 2020 Transmission Setup

The differential in a car controls how fast both rear wheels spin in relation to the other. An open differential will allow both wheels to spin independently of each other. While a completely locked differential enforces both rear wheels to spin at the exact same speed.

By locking the differential you maximise the ultimate traction when managed correctly, giving you the best acceleration possible. However, if the differential is too locked, you will get a lot of wheel spin. This wheel spin will wear your rear tyres quicker, slow you down while you search for traction, and make the car harder to control.

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

F1 2020 gives you two options to tweak the differential. On-throttle differential, and off-throttle.

On-Throttle differential – This controls how locked the rear wheels are when accelerating.
Off-Throttle differential – This controls how locked your wheels are when not touching the throttle.

Focusing on the on-throttle diff for now. This will affect how much wheel spin you get when accelerating out of a corner. By lowering the on-throttle diff, you are opening it up. This will give a much more gradual loss of traction. Allowing you to accelerate harder, earlier.

By closing the on-throttle diff, you will be doing the exact opposite. You will be giving yourself better potential acceleration out of corners, at the expense of more chance of wheel spin. The higher this setting is, the more “snappy” your car will be, meaning it is more likely to spin if you accelerate too hard.

You want to try and set this to as locked as possible, without the car being too hard to drive, and tyre temperatures becoming too high.

Wet races – For wet races, you will always want to lower the on-throttle differential more than normal. This will help with traction when accelerating in wet conditions, and make your car easier to control.

Switching to the off-throttle diff, this controls how both of your rear tyres spin when you are not accelerating. When you are not accelerating, both rear tyres still have some power running through them. This option controls how they react to that.

By lowering your off-throttle diff, you allow the cars wheels to turn more independently. This gives more initial turn in, reducing understeer. However it’ll make your rear end a little less stable, with a higher tendency to step out of control when turning in. This is known as lift off oversteer.

If you lock the off-throttle differential, your car will become more stable under braking and turn in. But it will have a tendency to understeer mid corner. It will make your whole setup a little more rigid and stable.

You should aim to have as high of an on-throttle differential as possible, while maintaining control and tyre wear levels. And you should try to manage your off-throttle diff depending on your driving style, and the style of track you are driving. Keeping this balanced is a good starting point.


Suspension Geometry Setup

Your suspension geometry is the part of your setup which controls your overall stability and responsiveness. This is the part where you can adjust your camber and toe angles of your wheels.

This part of your setup is crucial to maximising tyre performance, while minimising your tyre wear during a race. You will find two types of suspension geometry setups in F1 2020.

F1 2020 Suspension Geometry Setup

Time trial setups – These types of car setups don’t need to worry about tyre wear, so you will find very aggressive camber and toe setups to give maximum performance.

Race setups – Race setups generally are much less aggressive than time trial setups. This is to ensure you don’t wear your tyres out too quickly, causing unnecessary pitstops.

Camber dictates the angle of the wheel when looking from the front of the car. The more negative camber a car has, the more the top of the tyres point towards the car.

Higher levels of negative camber will result in a car which has more grip through corners. This is because when you turn in to a corner, the car leans on to the tyre. By adding negative camber you ensure that when the car leans on to a tyre, more of the tyre surface is in contact with the track.

However, too much negative camber will give you poor acceleration, as there will be less tyre in contact with the track when not cornering. Ultimately, too much negative camber will result in a slower car in a straight line, and higher amounts of traction loss under acceleration.

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If you go too much the other way, and take too much camber out of the wheels, you will be more stable and faster in a straight line. But during corners your tyres wont have as much grip. You will also be putting much more stress in to the tyres as you’ll have more of the tyre in contact with the road for longer.

This is a very aggressive way to setup your car, giving you the most traction out of corners. But it will come at the expense of tyre life, and isn’t ideal for long races.

Balancing your camber setup is a tricky offset between overall grip levels, and tyre wear. The best way to test this is during the race stint practice program. This shows you your average tyre wear across a five lap stint. You can run this multiple times across a race weekend so use it to test your camber and overall tyre wear.

The other setup option under suspension geometry is the toe. This is the angle of your tyres when looking from above. It dictates whether your tyres point in towards the car or out.

If you add toe out at the front of the car, you will get a car which is more responsive. However it will also become less stable on the straights.

Adding toe out at the rear does the exact opposite as front toe. It will stabilise the car, while making it less responsive.

To give your car the best top speed you will want to minimise the amount of toe you run. The straighter the wheels are in relation to the car, the less drag you will encounter. This will also lower your tyre temperatures.

However a car with minimal toe will also not be as responsive as a car that has the toe setup to a balanced setting. For time trial setups, you generally want to remove a lot of the toe, to give you the fastest overall car.

Unfortunatly the Mercedes DAS system isn’t in the F1 2020 game, so you can’t adjust your toe on the fly!


Suspension Setup

Your suspension setup differs from the geometry. While the suspension geometry controls the angle of your wheels, the suspension setup controls the stiffness of your car.

This is one of the more crucial parts of your car setup, as it controls how your car handles through all sectors of a lap.

F1 2020 Suspension Setup guide

All of the suspension and anti-roll bar options control how soft or stiff each part of your car is. The higher the number, the stiffer and more rigid your car will be. The lower the number, the softer it’ll be.

Both the front and rear suspension options change how soft or stiff your overall suspension is. This changes how your car will drive over kerbs and bumps.

If you are at a very bumpy track, or one with high kerbs you should soften your suspension. This will allow your car to handle the bumps better, giving you better control over kerbs and bumps. It will also help your tyres keep contact with the track.

If you are at a bumpy track, and run a stiff setup, your car will become hard to control. It is likely you will suffer from the car spinning when hitting bumps, and the wheels coming off the ground if you hit high kerbs too fast.

Alternatively, if you are at a flat circuit, such as Paul Ricard, you can stiffen your suspension. This gives your car more overall rigidity.

Soft suspension – Increase handling while riding over kerbs and bumps. Car becomes unstable under heavy turning inputs.

Stiff suspension – Your car will become unstable when riding over kerbs, resulting in possible spins. However car is more stable under heavy acceleration, braking and turning.

The anti-roll bars change how much your car will roll from side to side while cornering. Both your front and rear anti-roll bars will affect how stable your car is when cornering.

If you opt for stiffer anti-roll bars, you will be able to drive more aggressively. This is because your cars chassis wont roll as much under heavy inputs. Alternatively, soft anti-roll bars will allow your car to lean from side to side under heavy cornering.

In time trial setups, where you are searching for the most amount of performance, and you are driving as aggressively as you can. You should look to opt for very stiff anti-roll bars. This will give you the highest amount of confidence when throwing your car through corners.

You will often find a common way to setup a car is with a slightly soft suspension, and stiffer anti-roll bars. This combination works as it allows you to ride kerbs aggressively without the consequences that a stiffer setup offers.

Then the stiff anti-roll bars negate a lot of the instability from the soft suspension under heavy cornering inputs.

F1 2020 differs from F1 2019 by having much less aggressive kerbs. You can therefor running a stiffer suspension setup around a lot of the tracks in F1 2020.

Your ride height is the final setup option you have under the suspension setup screen. This controls how close your car is to the ground.

Running your car close to the ground has numerous benefits. Your car will have less drag, meaning it is faster in a straight line. It also produces more downforce allowing you to have more grip through corners.

The limit in terms of ride height, comes in the form of scraping against the track. If you setup your ride height too low, your car will touch the ground. In some cases this slows you down as you are dragging along the ground.

You can also experience bottoming out over bumpy sections of track. If you are setup too low and you hit a bump, the tyres can actually lose contact with the ground, as the bottom of your car lifts you off the ground. This causes a sharp loss of grip and can result in a spin.

You should really lower your car as much as possible without hitting the track around the tracks. You will hear when this happens while driving, and you will certainly feel any bottoming out as your steering can go light.

Wet racing and ride height – During a wet session, you will want to raise your ride height slightly. This is to compensate for the water that is sitting on the track. If your car bottoms out in the rain, you will experience aqua planning, where you lose all grip.


Brakes Setup

Your brake setup is one which you may want to adjust a little more compared to F1 2019. During F1 2019, you had the ability to spam downshifts to slow your car down. This was very unrealistic and in real life would put a lot of stress through your gearbox.

In F1 2020, Codemasters have adjusted the cars to limit how fast you can downshift. This means that those who used this technique will have to adjust their braking setup to compensate for the lost time.

Now you will want to run as high brake pressure as you can get away with, without locking your wheels.

F1 2020 Brake Setup Guide

The brake pressure setting itself controls how much pressure is applied to your brake discs when you stomp on the brake pedal. The higher this number is, the stronger your car will brake.

However, if you overdo it and set this too high, you may find your wheels locking up during heavy braking. This will elongate your braking distance and ruin your tyres, so is best to be avoided.

In F1 2020, you will want to set your brake pressure higher than you did in F1 2019, to account for the slower downshifts.

Your brake bias controls how much braking force gets sent to your front axle, and how much goes to your rear. This can be used to avoid your front wheels locking, and control understeer.

You should always keep this number between 52-60%. The closer you get to 60%, the more braking pressure is sent to your front wheels. This is good for heavy braking zones as it is the fastest way of slowing you down in a straight line.

During mid speed corners, too much front brake bias can cause understeer. Your front wheels only have a certain amount of grip, and that is divided between braking force and turn-in grip.

If too much braking force is being sent through your front tyres, then they have less grip to turn in to a corner. If you reduce the amount of front bias, you are freeing up more grip to turn in with.

You can adjust your brake bias during a lap, and you should try to do this. By adjusting your brake bias mid lap, you can send more pressure to your front wheels under heavy braking zones. And then balance it back out for mid speed corners.


Tyre Pressures

The final setup option you have in F1 2020 is the tyre setup. And this is the one part of your car setup which is different from F1 2019.

You will now find that you can adjust your tyre pressures on each wheel individually. In previous games, you used to only be able to change your pressures for each axle.

By allowing you to adjust your left and right pressures individually, you can account for tracks which have more corners in one direction.

F1 2020 Tyre Pressure Setup Guide

To give you an overview, your tyre pressures control how much pressure is in each tyre. By adding more pressure you are inflating the tyre more. This in turn stiffens your car, and reduces the size of your tyre contact patch with the road.

If you lower your tyre pressures, you will soften the car slightly, allowing you to attack kerbs more. You will also have more traction as the contact patch with the road will be larger.

When adjusting your tyre pressures, you also need to take in to account how the pressures affect your tyre temperatures. By increasing your tyre pressures, you will be increasing the amount of heat in your tyres, making them potentially wear out faster.

An overview of the characteristics of tyre pressure adjustments are;

Lower tyre pressures

  • Softer car (similar to softening the suspension)
  • More traction under acceleration
  • Less heat in tyres
  • Lower tyre wear

Higher tyre pressures

  • Stiffer car (similar characteristics to stiffening the suspension)
  • Less traction
  • More heat in tyres
  • Higher tyre wear

With the ability to adjust each tyre individually, this allows you to create some offset tyre setups. When you drive many tracks you will often find that either your left or right tyres will wear out faster.

This is because tracks which feature more left or right turns, put more stress through the relevant tyre which you are leaning on more.

Now, in F1 2020, you can lower the tyre pressures on the side which normally wears out quicker. This will reduce the heat in either your left or right tyre, and will help balance the amount of wear that you experience throughout a race.

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Now you have a good understanding of what each setup option does, check out our step by step how to guide. This guide runs through the full process of creating a setup from scratch, and in which order to do so.


Overview

The above tips hopefully give you an idea of how each part of your car’s setup affects how your car handles. However how do you take the knowledge from above, and combine each element to create a good car setup.

Well below we have included a variety of setup tips, that will help you adjust each part of your car setup to achieve a certain goal.

Aerodynamics

Higher front aerodynamics = More front end grip= reduces understeer
Higher rear aerodynamics = More rear end grip= more drag, but better car stability mid corner

Transmission

On-throttle differential = Lower this for less wheel spin under acceleration = lower for better tyre wear
Off-throttle differential = Increase this for more corner stability = higher chance of understeer

Suspension Geometry

Camber = Camber too high = less traction out of corners
Camber = 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

Suspension

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

Brakes

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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2 thoughts on “Ultimate F1 2020 Setup Guide – Learn To Create The Best Car Setup”

  1. Good work. A more consistent vocabulary would have been helpful (e.g. settings of the differential : “open”, “locked”, “closed”, “low”, “high”…).

  2. i cant get wheel and pedals to work properly. i have pc64 fanatec clubsport csl elite, f1 2020 limited edition wheel, clubsport pedals. i cant turn a single lap without crash out. is there anywhere that shows basics for first time non computer guy?

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