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With the AI difficulty varying from track to track, sometimes it isn't as easy as leaving your AI difficulty in F1 2021 set to a specific amount all season. This guide will give you the most realistic AI difficulty for every track in F1 2021.
You would think that by setting your AI difficulty to 100%, would emulate real-world drivers speed. However, this isn’t the case in F1 2021. In fact, if you set the AI difficulty to 100% you will be racing against AI who are a lot faster than real-world drivers.
As a quick example, the qualifying lap time at the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2021 was set by Max Verstappen, and was a 1:28.997.
If you set the AI difficulty to 100% in F1 2021 (which you would think would match real-world speed), you will find the pole position time is around a 1:26.00. That’s almost 2 seconds a lap quicker than Max was on his real-world qualifying lap!
In fact for Bahrain, you need to lower your AI difficulty to around just 77 for the AI to start producing real-world lap times.
For those who are looking for a super realistic F1 2021 experience, lapping around the same speed as real-world drivers is a great place to start.
Of course, your own AI difficulty should be set according to your overall skill level. But as a general rule of thumb, if you follow the AI difficulty recommendations below, you will find the game reasonably challenging. As you improve, you can always look to bump up the difficulty.
Below is a complete list of every track in F1 2021, along with the AI difficulty that you should set to create real-world lap times at every track.
Of course, some of the tracks below haven’t been raced at since 2020, or in some cases 2019. So in those situations, I’ve included the qualifying data from previous years.
In these scenarios, I have already adjusted the AI difficulty to reflect the 2021 cars speed. For example, 2019 and 2020 cars were faster than the current generation Formula 1 cars in 2021.
So a lap time at Spa of a 1:42.323 which was set in 2020, wouldn’t be able to be matched in a 2021 car. In fact, if the Spa weekend was dry, drivers such as Max and Lewis would probably have been 2-3 seconds slower this year.
This is demonstrated when looking at tracks that were raced at in both 2020 and 2021 such as Silverstone. The pole lap in 2020 was a 1:24.303, while the pole lap in 2021 was just a 1:26.134, around 2 seconds slower.
In situations where we only have data from 2019 or 2020 I have lowered the AI difficulty a touch to match what would be representative 2021 lap times.
|Track||Real World Quali Time||F1 2021 AI Difficulty|
|Imola||1:14.411||Not in game|
|Canada||1:10.240 (2019 Result)||82|
|Belgium||1:42.323 (2020 Result)||91|
|Russia||1:31.304 (2020 Result)||90|
|Singapore||1:36.217 (2020 Result)||90|
|Japan||1:27.064 (2019 Result)||94|
|United States||1:32.029 (2019 Result)||84|
|Mexico||1:14.758 (2019 Result)||89|
|Brazil||1:07.508 (2019 Result)||85|
|Australia||1:20.468 (2019 Result)||91|
|Saudi Arabia||New Circuit||Not in game|
|Abu Dhabi||1:35.246 (2020 Result)||84|
|China||1:31.547 (2019 Result)||86|
Balancing the AI difficulty and speed across every track in the game is a tricky process and one that even Codemasters haven’t managed to crack. There are certain tracks in F1 2021 where the AI seem to be very fast, and other tracks where they aren’t as quick. This can even be narrowed down to certain corners where the AI are faster or slower than you.
Tracks such as Bahrain and Baku, the AI seem to be very fast at, whereas in Austria and Japan, for example, it is much easier to keep up with the AI set at harder difficulty levels.
Because of this varying level of AI difficulty from track to track, you will probably want to adjust your AI difficulty specifically for every track rather than picking a difficulty level and leaving it there all season long.
For example, when starting my own My Team career mode, I set the AI difficulty to 105%. At Bahrain, this difficulty level was spot on for me. I had a fun and competitive race within the middle of the pack, fighting for the bottom end of the points.
When my career progressed to Spain with the same difficulty level, I got absolutely destroyed. I was right at the back of the grid during qualifying and could barely challenge for the last few positions during the race. With this in mind, I adjusted my F1 2021 AI difficulty down around 3-4 points for Spain, and this put me at a similar level to where I was in Bahrain.
You can set your AI difficulty at a wide range of levels, all the way from 0 up to 110. 0 being the slowest AI, and 110 being the fastest. As you can see in the table above, a realistic AI difficulty can vary between 80-98 depending on the track. When I refer to realistic, I mean the AI is as fast as drivers are in real life.
When you first start out in F1 2021, you will probably look to set the AI difficulty around the 60 mark. This is essentially a balanced or normal difficulty. Not too easy and not too hard.
As you start to improve you will start to increase this difficulty to match your own pace.
Once you get to around the 80 difficulty rating, you should consider yourself above average, and fairly skilled. Once you get to 90, you should consider yourself a fast driver. At or around 100, you are an extremely fast racer, and as you approach 110 AI difficulty, you should be starting to get close to professional e-sports driver’s lap times.