F1 23: How To Race Without ABS: How To Brake Better

The braking zone is a crucial part of a lap where you can improve your lap time in F1 23. Learn how to race without ABS in F1 23 and learn these top tips to improve your braking.

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F1 23 How To Race Without ABS

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Braking is possibly the part of any lap where you can most improve your lap time in F1 23. You’ll spend all of your time either accelerating along straight parts of a track, braking or cornering.

There isn’t too much time to be found along a straight, other than an optimised car setup, leaving the braking zones and corners as the parts of a track where you should look to find as much lap time as possible.

Learning to improve your braking and braking without ABS will always improve your lap time. In this guide, I’m going to run through tips on how to race without ABS in F1 23, and how to improve your braking.

How to race without ABS in F1 23

The first big decision you’ll have to make when looking at improving your braking is whether to use ABS assist or not.

Real Formula 1 cars do not have ABS, so if you’re looking for realism turning ABS off is the best option. It can also be faster and will improve your driving ability, so we’d recommend turning it off if possible.

What is ABS?

ABS stands for anti-lock braking system, and it does exactly that. It kicks in when your wheels are about to lock, and reduces the braking force being applied to prevent them from locking.

This will help to make braking easier as you won’t need to worry about modulating your brake pressure. This removes the risk of locking a wheel which will cause you to miss a corner.

However, using ABS can actually slow you down and increase your lap time as it will be reducing your braking pressure to avoid locking a wheel.

Is ABS faster than no ABS in F1 23?

ABS can be both faster and slower in F1 23, depending on how you look at it. In terms of raw pace, a skilled driver will always be faster without ABS than with it. Drivers who can modulate the brake pressure correctly will be able to slow the car faster than when ABS is enabled.

However, if you are learning F1 23 or playing more casually, turning ABS off can result in locked wheels and lost time during braking. In this scenario, turning ABS on can improve your lap times, and make braking more manageable and F1 23 more enjoyable.

How to turn ABS off in F1 23

You can turn ABS off in F1 23 in the assists setting screen. The path to get to the ABS assist is “options” and then “settings”. Finally, choose “assists” to see all of your assists settings. Then navigate to the ABS setting and disable it.

How to avoid locking your wheels without ABS

When you start racing with ABS turned off, you will notice that if you brake at 100% pressure, your front wheels will lock as your car slows down.

This wheel locking will cause your car to not slow down as fast. It will push your car wide making you miss the apex of the corner. And it will also wear your tyres faster. So it’s best to avoid locking a wheel!

There are a few techniques that you can use to avoid locking your wheels in F1 23 without ABS enabled. I’ll look at each of these techniques in more detail below, but here is a summary of how to avoid locking your wheels.

  • Learning the correct racing line
  • Brake in a straight line
  • Brake at the correct braking point
  • Modulate your brake pressure
  • Adjust your brake bias
  • Trail brake
  • Cadence brake in wet weather

Learning the Correct Racing Line

Knowing when to brake and the correct line to take through a corner will help you improve your speed and find lap time in F1 23. The correct racing line will shorten your route through a corner, allowing you to brake less and carry more speed.

The perfect racing line starts with you on the outside of the track, before you move across to the inside to clip the apex of the corner (the apex is the inner most point of a corner). Then you’ll drift back out wide while accelerating out of the corner.

F1 22 Braking tips

Different parts of a braking zone

As well as learning the ideal racing line, you should get accustomed to the different parts of a braking zone. Each braking zone is made up of three parts, and you should look to do a specific action or set of actions in each part of the braking zone to maximise your performance through a corner.

Braking zone part 1

The first part of a braking zone in F1 23 and any sim racing title is the point at which you start braking. You should almost always apply 100% braking pressure as you look to slow your car down as fast as possible.

Braking zone part 2

The second part of a braking zone is the part where you start to lift off the brake pedal. As mentioned above, if you apply 100% braking pressure continuously you will lock a wheel. This forces us to start to reduce the braking pressure as the car slows.

Ideally, you’ll still be travelling in a straight line as you start to reduce your brake pressure. You should apply less brake pressure gradually while your car slows until the point at which you are no longer braking.

Braking zone part 3

The third part of a braking zone is the point at which you start to turn into the corner. You will almost always still be applying some brake pressure at this point as you start to turn, and this is called trail braking.

You will want to continue to release the brake pressure as you start to apply steering input. Too much brake pressure and steering input together will also cause your wheels to lock.

Continue through this part of the braking zone until you are no longer braking. You can then focus on hitting the apex and optimising your corner exit.


Braking in a straight line

Braking in a straight line in F1 23 is incredibly important. The reason for this is that your wheels can only handle so much braking force and steering input before they lose grip and break traction.

A good way to think about it, is if you are applying 100% braking force, you’ll want 0% steering input. If you are applying 100% steering input, you’ll want 0% braking input.

And then you should reduce one while you increase the other. For example, only start to apply 10% steering input while you are reducing your brake pressure past 90%.

If you apply 70% braking force and 70% steering input, you’ll be exceeding the 100% grip limitation of your tyres. This can result in your car understeering, or your wheels locking.


Trail braking

The term given to the technique of applying both steering input and braking input as mentioned above is trail braking. You are essentially trailing off the brake pressure as you start to apply steering input.

This is a fairly advanced technique to master, but is one that will save you lap time at almost every corner around a circuit in F1 23.


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The goal of trail braking is to keep your tyres working at close to 100% of their ability to grip to the track at any point.

Using the inputs that I mentioned above, you can look to apply steering input equal to the amount of brake pressure that you aren’t using. So if you are only braking at 40% pressure, you’ll be able to apply around 60% steering input before you overwhelm your tyres.

This will avoid leaving any grip potential on the table, and will extract the maximum performance available from your tyres.

Some key benefits of trail braking include;

  • You can brake later into a corner if you combine both brake and steering inputs.
  • You’ll have faster mid-corner speed as you’ll be approaching the apex at a faster speed.
  • You’re less likely to understeer on corner entry if you release the brake pressure while steering.

Trail braking explained

Understanding trail braking is key to learning how to master it, and you might even be doing it without knowing. You’ll see a few graphics below that visually show what trail braking is and how it is used.

The first image is an overlay of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc’s braking compared. I’ve marked a few lines to visually show when both drivers start trail braking by reducing their braking pressure.

The other two images above show the points of a corner where trail braking is used, including when to start reducing brake pressure and when to start turning. Below is a breakdown of each part of the corner and how to use trail braking.

Corner Entry – Braking
  • Brake at full pressure at the braking point
  • Maintain full pressure as long as possible without locking your wheels
Corner Entry – Starting to trail brake
  • Start to gradually reduce brake pressure
  • Then start to turn into the corner
  • Your brake pressure should be between 35-50% as you start turning
  • Continue to decrease brake pressure to 10-25% while increasing steering input
  • Keep gradually releasing the brake pedal before hitting the apex

When to trail brake in F1 23

You will more than likely use trail braking at almost every corner in F1 23. There will almost always be the point of a corner where you’ll want to start turning in towards the apex before you have fully released the brakes.

How much you trail brake will vary greatly from corner to corner. Some faster corners will require much more trail braking compared to slower corners with longer braking zones.

Trail braking mistakes

As with most advanced techniques, there are a few easy mistakes to make while trail braking in F1 23. The main point is to learn from the mistakes and apply your learning each lap.

Too much brake pressure and steering input together

The easiest mistake to make while trail braking is applying too much braking and steering input together. This happens when you are still braking too much while trying to turn into a corner.

This will generally result in the inside front wheel locking, and you missing the apex. If you experience any wheel locking while turning into a corner, this mistake is probably the culprit.

Braking too late into the corner

Trail braking correctly can allow you to brake later into a corner, however there is a limit to how late you can brake in F1 23. Braking too late, whether you are trail braking or not, will normally result in you missing the apex.

This will mean you’ll have to slow your car down even more to make the corner and will always result in lost lap time. Using drivers around you, either the AI or other drivers online, as a reference is a good way to quickly learn the braking points at each corner. You can then start to brake later each lap until you reach the point at which you cannot make the apex.

Lifting off the brakes too early

When trail braking, you don’t need to aggressively reduce your brake pressure as soon as you apply steering input. All inputs should be gradual.

If you lift off the brakes too much or too early, you’ll find you may have to reapply the brakes to slow your car down. Learning when to start reducing brake pressure really comes down to confidence and practice.

This is the part of a braking zone where many drivers will lose a little time. Those drivers who master exactly when to start and stop braking will almost always have an advantage and be faster.


Cadence braking

Another advanced braking technique that can help drive without ABS in F1 23 is cadence braking. This is useful in wet weather or extremely low grip scenarios.

Cadence braking requires the driver to continuously apply and then release brake pressure. This motion will push the tyres to the edge of their grip, and then release the pressure before the wheels lock.

While this may seem weird at first, cadence braking is extremely beneficial in wet weather races.

How to cadence brake in F1 23
  • Apply the brakes like normal.
  • Release the brake pedal earlier than you normally would before the wheels lock.
  • Right away, reapply brake pressure.
  • Repeat this process as you slow the car down.

Brake bias setup

Another tool you have at your disposal is a car setup option. The brake bias allows you to distribute how much brake pressure gets sent to the front brakes and how much to the rear.

Changing your brake bias will have a big affect on how your brakes perform under braking.

More front focused brake bias

A higher front brake bias will result in shorter braking zones, but increase the risk of locking a wheel and promote understeer.

More rearward brake bias

A brake bias closer to 50% will result in more even amounts of braking force going to the rear brakes. This promotes oversteer, and a more balanced brake setup. But can result in rear locking and instability under braking.

F1 22 Brake Bias Explained

Generally, a real-world Formula 1 car would have a brake bias set between 53-58% depending on the corner type. And you should look to replicate this in F1 23.

A perfect brake bias setup will result in neither front or rear wheel locking under braking, shorter braking distances and a stable car under braking.

Front vs rear brake locking

While front wheels locking is commonplace and I’ve touched on it a little bit, rear wheel locking is also possible and can be much scarier.

Front wheel locking

Your front wheels will lock when you apply too much brake pressure at slow speeds, or while trying to turn too much while braking. This will result in increased tyre wear and understeer.

Rear wheel locking

Your rear wheels can lock if your brake bias is too close to 50%. Rear brakes on an F1 car are smaller than the front so can’t withstand the same amount of force, so have a tendency to lock before the front with a 50% brake bias.

Rear wheel locking can be scary as it will cause the rear of the car to start to overtake the front. This can cause oversteer under braking, and result in a spin if the locking is too aggressive or not corrected. It essentially feels like someone pulling the handbrake on.

Adjusting brake bias mid-race in F1 23

Because each corner around a track will benefit from a different amount of brake bias, you can adjust your brake bias setup as many times as you’d like to around each lap.

If you watch Formula 1, you’ll often see drivers changing their brake balance between each corner. You can do the same in F1 23.

You can change your brake bias in F1 23 via the MFD menu, or by assigning a button or input on your controller or racing wheel to quickly make the change.


Braking in F1 23 Top Tips

Below are our top tips for braking without ABS and improving your braking performance in F1 23.

Brake in a straight line

As a general rule, you should always brake in a straight line for as long as you can. This will focus all of your tyre’s grip potential on slowing your car rather than turning. Some corners this isn’t possible like turn 10 at Bahrain, but always look to straighten your braking zone.

Brake at the right braking point

You should look to learn the ideal braking point for each corner around a track. Braking too early will result in slow corner entry. While braking too late can result in locked wheels, missed apexes and slower lap times.

Turn ABS Off

As mentioned above, ABS can be great for newer sim racers or those trying F1 23 for the first time. However, you should look to disable it as soon as you can and use the tips above to improve your braking. Driving without ABS will almost always be faster.


Conclusion

Using the tips above should help you improve your performance during the braking zones in F1 23. I’d recommend to disable ABS as early as you can, and start to modulate braking pressure yourself. This will improve your ability as a racing driver, and give you the potential to unlock the ultimate grip of your car.


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Frequently asked questions

What is brake bias in F1 23?

Your brake bias in F1 23 controls what percentage of braking force is sent to the front and rear brakes. Changing your brake bias will adjust the characteristics of your car under braking.

What is brake pressure in F1 23?

Your brake pressure in F1 23 controls how much pressure is applied to your front and rear brakes when you press the brake pressure. Setting this at 100% is preferrable at most tracks.

How do you not lock up brakes in F1 23?

To avoid locking your brakes in F1 23, you should start to reduce the amount of brake input applied as your car slows. Brake at full pressure at the start of the braking zone and then gradually release the brake pedal as you slow.

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Article written by Rich

Co-Founder of SimRacingSetups.com

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

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