How To Drive With Manual Gears in F1 22

In this F1 22 assists guide, I will run you through how to drive with manual gears. I'll include my top tips for learning manual gears, and how driving with a manual transmission will improve your lap times.

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F1 22 How to drive with manual gears

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Learning to drive with manual gears in F1 22 can be a daunting task. Changing gear manually increases the amount of information you need to process while driving. You can shift around 50-60 times a lap depending on the track you’re racing at.

The guide below will run through the best techniques to use when learning to shift manually in F1 22. I’ll show you when to change gear, and how to make it easier to learn. I’ll also look at some more advanced shifting techniques to help you become faster.

Are manual gears faster than automatic gears?

Manual gears will always be faster in most racing games, and that is true in F1 22. With the gear assist set to automatic, the game takes full control over when your car changes gear both up and down.

While this does take away a big responsibility so you can focus on racing and becoming faster. Using automatic gears will make you slower compared to using manual gears.

How does the automatic gear assist work?

The reason why automatic gears are slower comes down to the game’s logic. The game will automatically change gear based on a single factor, your car’s RPM. When your RPM reaches a certain number, the game will decide to change gear.

However, there are many scenarios where this isn’t ideal. Having manual control over your gears allows you to shift earlier or later which can improve your lap time.

Learning to use manual gears

Learning to use manual gears can be tricky, but it can be made easier if you pay attention to a few things. When you first disable the automatic gear assist, chances are you will miss a few shift points, and you won’t be shifting within the ideal rev range.

If you pay attention to your on-screen HUD or your in-game steering wheel’s display there are a few indicators which can help you learn where the optimal shift point is.

Both your HUD and your steering wheel has shift lights that light up as your RPM changes. As you accelerate, your car revs more which increases your RPM. As this increases, your shift lights will start to light up from left to right. These give you a very good indication of when to change gear.

Learn how to upshift

Watching your shift lights as you drive can help you find the best upshift point. You will want to be changing gear at around 11,500 RPM, which is just before all of the shift lights illuminate.

The shift lights start green, turn red in the middle and go purple towards the higher rev ranges. As soon as you see a purple shift light, now is the perfect time to shift up.

A top tip is to move your HUD position. By default, it is positioned in the bottom right of the screen. This isn’t always the easiest place to look at as you’ll be taking your eyes off of the track to look over at it.

You can move your HUD to position this element in the center of your screen. Doing this will bring the shift lights closer to where you’ll be looking on track. This makes it much easier to spot the lights.

F1 22 Testing car setup changes

Use visual and audio cues

As well as using the bright shift lights, you can also watch the RPM number on the HUD increase. This is slightly harder to do as the number changes so quickly. However, as soon as you reach around 11,500 RPM, that is the best time to upshift.

As you spend more time with F1 22, you will learn how the engine sounds as you accelerate. The higher your RPM is, the higher pitch your engine will sound. This can be a great indication of when to shift.

Learn the noise your engine makes just before you shift, and try to keep an ear out for that noise. This will help you learn when the best point to shift is without using a visual indicator. This is especially useful if you are racing F1 22 in VR or without the HUD enabled.

Read our guide on the best VR headsets for F1 22.

Another way to learn when to shift is to enable the upshift tone setting. This is a setting that real-world Formula 1 drivers use. The upshift tone will produce an audible beep when the optimal time to shift gear is.

Enabling this can help you get into a rhythm of changing gear throughout a lap. It isn’t something that I’d recommend keeping enabled for long as it can become annoying. But it’s a great way of learning your timing.

How to shift down

Downshifting is just as important as learning to upshift, if not more important. While upshifting at the correct point can result in slightly faster acceleration. Downshifting correctly can help slow your car down dramatically quicker.

It can be slightly trickier to learn the best time downshift though, as there aren’t as many visual indicators for when to shift down. And you’ll be performing downshifts much faster than you would with upshifts making the margin for error much smaller.

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F1 22 How to turn off assists

When to downshift correctly

Much like using the shift lights on the HUD and steering wheel to know when to upshift, you can also use them to know when to downshift.

As you decelerate, the shift lights will start to go out from right to left. When the last shift light on the left-hand side goes out, that is the perfect time to downshift.

When decelerating from high speed, the shift lights will go out very quickly, meaning you may have to downshift extremely quickly. When braking from top speed, you may even be pulling multiple downshifts per second.

You can downshift much quicker when decelerating from high speed compared to travelling at slow speed. This is because you will be losing speed extremely quickly when decelerating from a higher speed. As you shift down through the gears, the gap between downshifts will increase.

Braking at high speed is a prime opportunity to use engine braking to help you decelerate faster.

How engine braking works in F1 22

Engine braking is the technique of using your engine to help force your car to slow down quicker. This is achieved by downshifting slightly quicker than normal. This forces the engine to help your rear wheels slow down.

This can be done by shifting earlier than you normally would. Pull a downshift before all of the shift lights go out, and repeat as you continue down through the gears. Be careful not to shift too early. If you shift too early the rear of your car can lock up and result in a spin. It’s a fine balance to achieve.

Advanced shifting techniques

With manual gears in F1 22, you have complete control over how and when you shift. This opens up a range of techniques such as shifting early, or late. In certain scenarios, these techniques can improve just how fast you are on certain parts of the track.

Holding gears longer

Holding a gear longer than you normally would involve you not shifting within the ultimate rev range. Generally, shifting around 11,500 RPM is considered ideal for most cars in F1 22. However, this doesn’t represent the maximum revs your car can produce.

If you don’t shift but continue to accelerate past the ideal rev range, normally this wouldn’t be as efficient. But in some scenarios, it is preferred, especially if upshifting would affect your car’s behaviour.

When you upshift, you ever so slightly unbalance the car while the gear change is happening.

If you are mid-corner and applying steering input at the same time, this can cause your car to become unstable. This could end in an oversteer moment, or cause you to have to reduce the amount of throttle you have applied.

Holding onto a gear while you are accelerating mid-corner can be beneficial to avoid this undesired behaviour. You can hold the current gear you are in whilst accelerating, and wait until your car is straighter before shifting up.

F1 22 Cockpit camera VR


Short shifting is used in all forms of motorsport and is a handy technique to learn. Short-shifting is the art of changing up a gear earlier than you normally would.  This may seem counterintuitive as you won’t be getting the best acceleration, however, it has some really good uses in F1 22.

Why short shift gears?

By short-shifting while accelerating in F1 22, you will essentially be preventing the engine from revving. Changing gear early will force the engine revs to drop as you change up to the next gear.

This will reduce wheel spin as the revs will be much lower than if you were to shift at the normal rev range. Short shifting is especially useful if you are accelerating out of a slower corner and struggling for traction. It’s also extremely useful in wet conditions where you are much more likely to wheel spin.

While your engine won’t be sending the absolute maximum amount of power to your wheels when you short shift. It does allow you to maintain traction under acceleration which can speed up how fast you apply more throttle.

In low traction scenarios such as in wet conditions, this technique can improve how fast you can accelerate out of a corner.

When to short shift
  • When accelerating hard at low speed.
  • When exiting a corner during wet conditions.
  • When you want to get on the power early out of a corner.

Engine braking

I did touch on engine braking a little earlier in the downshifting section, but I wanted to talk about it in more detail. It is a powerful tool to use to help slow your car down.

Engine braking works by forcing your rear wheels to decelerate as you shift down through the gears. Shifting down quickly while braking will cause the energy in the engine to decrease which forces it to slow down the wheels.

This technique can be used during heavy braking zones to slow your car down quicker. This can give you an advantage when braking late while trying to overtake someone.

How to use engine braking in F1 22

Using engine braking during the initial part of your deceleration into a corner is a fine balancing act. It involves you downshifting earlier than you normally would.

However, if you downshift too many times or too early, you can cause your rear axle to lock. This would cause the rear of the car to lose grip and start to overtake the front of your car, resulting in a spin.

  • As you approach a corner keep your car straight and spot your braking point.
  • Brake heavily as soon as you hit the braking point.
  • Start to shift down ever so slightly earlier than you normally would.
  • If you’re braking from high speed, you can normally shift down two or three times in quick succession.
  • This will force the engine to help slow your wheels down.
  • You can then continue to brake and downshift like normal.

Using the upshift tone

One really handy method of learning when the right time to shift gears, is to use the upshift tone. This is a function that real Formula 1 drivers use. The upshift tone will beep when it’s the ideal time to shift gears.

This is a really handy way of learning the ideal time to change gears. After you become used to your gear shift timing, you can disable the upshift tone. Or if you prefer, you can leave this enabled while you race.

How to turn the upshift tone on

You will find the upshift tone option in the audio settings.

  • Open your settings from either the main menu or when on track, and head over to the audio settings.
  • Scroll down to the broadcast experience section.
  • Turn the upshift tone on.

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Hopefully, these tips will help you master driving with manual gears in F1 22. This is one of the hardest assists to change, with the step from automatic to manual gears being incredibly large. Taking your time to learn manual gears during a practice session utilising the tips above should help.

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Article written by Rich

Co-Founder of

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

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