How F1 2021 Car Setups Are Different From F1 2020

Just like in real life, the way this years cars in F1 2021 is changing. There have been a lot of physics tweaks meaning car setups this year will look very different to those from last years game. Here is a roundup of how F1 2021 setups will differ from last year.

F1 2021 Setup vs F1 2020 Setup

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Codemasters have spent the past year refining the overall gameplay engine behind this years F1 2021 game. All of these physics changes have led to a game which feels like it is leaning more towards a simulation than ever before.

Some of these physics changes have been implemented to match new regulations within Formula 1, which in 2021 lead to less overall downforce.

These changes result in a game which feels similar to last years game in many ways. However as you approach the limit of grip, your car will start to respond quite differently.

This all leads to a complete overhaul in the way F1 2021 handles car setups when compared to its predecessor.

In this guide, I’ll highlight each part of the car setup which will differ from last years game. I’ll run through how the new setups will work, and how you can adjust your car setups in F1 2021 to maximise your speed.

F1 2021 car setups vs F1 2020

Looking back at last year’s game, extreme car setups were the norm. You would often find the quickest setups require maxing out certain setup options and minimising others. This extreme approach allowed players to post some seriously quick lap times.

However in F1 2021, car setups are a much balanced affair. You will no longer be able to run extreme setup options without feeling the consequences of a very twitchy car.

Some of the previous options which used to be maxed out include elements such as Camber and Toe, Brake Bias and Suspension options. From what we’ve seen of F1 2021, if you look to run these extreme options your car will behave very differently.

Car setups are relative, not absolute

One of the big areas to note with F1 2021, is that every car’s setup has already been adjusted for each track. For example a 6-6 a aerodynamic setup at Monaco is already vastly different from a 6-6 aerodynamic setup at Spa. Each track setup is relative, and not absolute.

This means that you don’t need to necessarily reduce the aerodynamic setup massively at Spa, and increase it at Monaco, as the setup has already been adjusted.

Aerodynamic setup changes

With the relative car setups in mind, you will find a lot more car setups having more balanced aero. For example rather than running 2-5 aero in F1 2020, you will see many car setups running a more balanced 4-6 or 5-6 setup.

This years new F1 regulations mean that there is less downforce generated from the much reduced floor sections of the cars. This will mean that fine tuning your aero setup will play a more crucial role this year. It could well lead to F1 2021 setups with higher levels of wing angle to try to recoup some of the lost downforce compared to last year.

Transmission setup changes

The differential setup is relatively similar in this years game. This means you can look to run a similar differential setup as you did in last year’s game.

However you may want to play with the off-throttle differential slightly more this year. By reducing the off-throttle differential, you allow your car to rotate better into slower speed corners. You may want to tinker with this to run lower off-throttle diff setups this year to account for slightly less front downforce.

Suspension geometry changes

In F1 2021, your car will be much more sensitive to camber and toe adjustments. Which means gone are the maximum camber, and minimum toe setups that we found worked the best last year.

Instead, setting up your camber and toe will be a much more subtle and delicate job. The effect of extreme suspension geometry in F1 2021 is much stronger, and will lead to strange tyre temperatures if incorrectly setup.

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We would highly recommend running a much more balanced suspension geometry in F1 2021. Although the same principles apply in this years game as they did last year. Large amounts of toe will cause excess drag, and higher angles of camber will increase tyre temperature.

So, you can comfortably take an F1 2020 suspension geometry setup, port it in to F1 2021, and simply tone down the angles. Try doing exactly this, and moving the setup dials a click or two closer to centre.

Suspension setup changes

The biggest change to the suspension setup in F1 2021, is the ride height. You’ll no longer be able to lower the car right to the ground without truly feeling the effects of the track, bumps and kerbs.

This year’s game requires ride heights which are much higher, for example a 3-4 ride height from F1 2020, should be changed to a 5-6 ride height in F1 2021. Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, more an example as to how ride heights should be adjusted from one game to the other.

Essentially, you’ll start to feel the repercussions of low ride heights much earlier than you would have in last years game.

In F1 2021 you will also find that you have to soften the rear suspension a lot compared to last year’s game. If you run high rear suspension stiffness just like F1 2020 promoted, you will find your car has a huge tendency to understeer into corners.

To counteract this, you should look to actively soften the suspension and anti-roll bars at the rear of the car. This will allow for extra rotation as you turn in.

Brake setup changes

One of the big areas of improvement come in the form of the brake bias setting. In F1 2020, you would find a lot of setups running close to 50-50 brake bias, which is just unheard of in real-world car setups.

If you ran a completely balanced 50-50 brake bias in both real-world Formula 1, and in F1 2021, you will notice as soon as you apply the brakes, your car will spin around on you.

This happens because the much smaller rear brakes can’t handle the same amount of braking force as the larger front brakes. This means the rear brakes will lock first, and your car will spin.

The fix for F1 2021, is to run much more realistic brake bias settings at around 56% front bias.

Tyre pressure changes

Just like the brake bias and suspension setups above, the tyre pressures have had a complete overhaul in F1 2021. You will no longer be able to run super low tyre pressures, which was often the best method of reducing tyre wear and wheel spin in F1 2020.

Instead, you should look to run as high tyre pressures as you can without overheating your tyres.

TLDR overview

If you want a quick overview of how different car setups are in F1 2021 compared to last year’s game, here are the highlights.

Aerodynamics – Aero is relative in F1 2021, meaning you will find car setups have much higher aero setup than last year.

Differential – You’ll notice that off-throttle diff has a much more pronounced effect on understeer and oversteer than last year.

Suspension Geometry – You can no longer run extreme camber and toe angles without feeling extreme car behaviour.

Suspension – You will have to soften the rear suspension compared to F1 2020. Also you will need higher ride heights.

Braking – F1 2021 requires a much more front-biased brake bias. More rearwards brake bias will induce rear brake locking sooner.

Tyre Pressures – Low tyre pressures are no longer the way to go. Instead run as high as you can without inducing too much heat.

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Article written by Mjolnir

Mjolnir is one of the main setup creators and content writers for SimRacingSetups. He has had years of experience in sim racing, both competitively and casually. After a decade of sim racing experience, he co-founded to share his passion and knowledge of sim racing and Formula 1 with other sim racers.
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