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F1 2021 has introduced some core changes to ERS usage in game. In this guide I'll detail all of the changes in F1 2021, and how you can best optimise ERS during a race weekend.
Formula 1 in 2021 is something of a gap year. The big regulation changes that were due this year have been pushed back to 2022, meaning the cars this year are very similar to those that raced last year.
Despite this stop-gap, there have been some rule and regulation changes which have been mirrored in the F1 2021 game. One of those changes is a elimination of engine modes. This means that during a race, you will no longer be able to switch between lean or rich mixture for your engine mode.
With this element gone from F1 2021, it places even more emphasis on the most optimised usage of ERS during a race.
In this guide, I’ll run through how ERS works in F1 2021, along with a brief description of what ERS is, and some tips on how to best optimise ERS in F1 2021.
ERS is an abbreviation for the energy recovery system which is part of the power deployment in a Formula 1 car. It is made up of electrical components which recover energy from braking. The drivers can then use this energy to create extra power.
Essentially it is a boost system which increases the power output of the powertrain for a restricted amount of time. Unfortunately the drivers can’t use ERS at a high setting as there is only a limited amount of deployment allowed each lap.
The drivers also need to allow the ERS battery to recover energy between uses. This is where the in-race management happens.
Previous F1 games allowed you access to a full host of ERS management options, however since F1 2020, the amount of ERS modes you have to play with has decreased.
In F1 2021 you have access to a few different ERS modes depending on the situation.
During practice sessions you have access to the following modes; None, Medium, Hot Lap, Overtake
During qualifying you have access to; None or Hot Lap
And during the race you have access to; Medium or Overtake
Essentially power output and battery usage both increase as you progress up from none, to medium and all the way up to overtake.
Overtake is really your only tool during a race in F1 2021 where you can control how much power output your powertrain produces. This will be one of your primary tools for both overtaking and defending during a race.
To use the overtake ERS mode during a race you simply have to press the overtake button. On a controller, this defaults to L1 or LB, whilst on a racing wheel, you’ll be able to manually set which button controls this.
You simply press once to enable overtake ERS mode, and press again to disable it.
You will see on either your steering wheel or your HUD a yellow bar which will deplete as you use ERS, and fill up as you recharge your battery. You’ll quickly notice when you enable overtake that the bar depletes very quickly.
If you’re in any doubt over when to use the overtake mode, simply keep the ERS set to medium during a race, and the AI will control usage for you. However, if you really want to fully use ERS to its potential, learning when to activate ERS in F1 2021 should become second nature to you.
There are a few key scenarios where you should look to activate overtake ERS mode. Below I’ll run through each one.
The first scenario for using ERS is when overtaking in F1 2021. During an overtaking move you will typically want to extract as much straight line speed as possible to help you pass the car in front.
When you are chasing a car in front, if within 1 second, you will also get help from DRS. But you should look to maximise your top speed through ERS to help catch and pass the car in front.
The best place to use this technique is at the start of a long straight which is followed by a slower corner or a good overtaking spot.
Simply look to activate overtake ERS mode as soon as you accelerate out of a corner. Ensure you already have good traction as the extra power could allow your rear wheels to spin if activated too soon.
Then keep overtake mode enabled all the way down the straight, or until you’re comfortably passed the car in front. Then deactivate overtake mode before you reach the braking zone.
This should allow you to have enough of a speed advantage over the car in front to make the overtake. You can then allow your battery to charge through the next few straights and corners.
On the flip side of this, you can also use overtake to help defend from a car that is attacking you from behind.
If you can see the car behind is close enough to potentially attack you down a medium to long straight, you should look to activate overtake ERS mode in a very similar way to how I detailed for overtaking above.
Activate the overtake mode at the start of the straight to give you maximum power down the straight which follows. Then if you reach the next braking point comfortably ahead of the car behind, you can deactivate overtake mode.
Remember when defending to conserve ERS usage where possible. You’ll want to keep as much ERS stored as possible to allow you to fully defend where ever required.
If you have a gap to the car ahead, you can always use overtake ERS mode to help give you extra speed down the straights, even if not overtaking or defending. By giving yourself extra power down some of the straights around a lap, you will be able to lap at a faster pace.
This is especially useful if you are about to make a pitstop and need to close a gap or create a gap to a car ahead or behind. Putting in fast lap times at strategic moments such as pitstops can really help during a close race.
I touched on this in my tips above, but there are definitely some scenarios where you shouldn’t be using overtake ERS modes. Below are a few examples of times where you shouldn’t use overtake mode in F1 2021.
As mentioned above, ERS is a depletable resource. You only have a limited amount of ERS, and it goes down faster, the more you use overtake mode. You do need to deactivate overtake ERS mode to allow your battery store to recover.
This means you shouldn’t use the overtake mode all the way around a lap.
Your usage of overtake mode should only really be activated at a couple of places per lap, unless you are in any of the scenarios that I mentioned above.
Limit overtake mode to 1 or 2 long straights only throughout a lap.
Overtake mode is most effective when used at medium to high speed during long straights. This is where the more powerful ERS mode will have the most effect on your laptime.
Throughout corners, where you aren’t always at full throttle, or even during braking should be a place where you never use overtake mode.
You will essentially be using more battery through areas of the track where the benefits are not fully felt. Even down short straights you should limit overtake mode use. Unless defending or overtaking you should limit usage to long straights.
When you are entering the pitlane, or even driving down the pitlane, you’ll be limited by the pitlane speed limiter. This means, any extra overtaking boost will be wasted as you cannot exceed a certain speed.
You should use this time to disable overtake mode, and allow your ERS to recover, ready for the hot lap you should be putting in as you exit the pitlane.