F1 23: How To Drive With Manual Gears

Driving with manual gears in F1 23 may be one of the trickier assists to turn off. Automatic gears completely takes away the need to change gears manually. Here are our top tips on how to drive with manual gears in F1 23.

F1 23 How To Race With Manual Gears

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Using manual gears in F1 23 adds a completely new level of complexity to racing this year’s Formula 1 game. If you have never used manual gears before, it may seem pretty alien to have to change gears hundreds of times each lap, and it can be a little daunting.

However, with our top tips on driving F1 23 with manual gears, and a bit of practice, changing gears manually will become second nature. I’ll even touch on some more advanced shifting techniques to help you increase your pace and find extra lap time.

Watch our video guide on how to race with manual gears in F1 23

What are manual gears in F1 23?

Manual gears are the process of changing your gears manually while driving in F1 23. This is the most realistic way of racing in F1 23, as it replicates the process that a real-world Formula 1 driver goes through hundreds of times each lap.

You can set the gears to be automatic in F1 23, and this will allow the game to handle gear shifts for you. This lets you focus more on driving the correct racing line and competing with other drivers without the added stress of manually changing up and down gears. This assist is great for newer players or casual racers but should be disabled for a truly realistic experience.

How to change to manual gears in the settings

To change to manual gears in F1 23, you can head into the settings menu from either the mid-race pause screen or the main menu. Once in the settings screen, head into the assists. Here you will see all of the available driver assists that you can enable or disable.

Read our complete guide on driver assists in F1 23, for an overview of what every driver assist does.

To change the gearbox assist to manual, scroll down until you find the gearbox setting. You can then choose from a few options. You can choose automatic, manual or manual with suggest.

The third option, manual with suggest gives you full control just like manual does, but it will show the suggested gear on your on-screen HUD. This is great if you want to learn to drive with manual gears in F1 23, but need a little guidance as to which gear is the correct one to be in.

Are manual gears faster than automatic gears?

Racing F1 23 with manual gears will almost always be faster than racing with automatic gears. Manual gears allow you to have full control over when you change up and down gears, and you can use your timing of each shift to increase your performance.

For example, you can shift down faster than normal to help slow your car with engine braking. Or you can short shift while accelerating to help reduce wheel spin.

When racing with automatic gears, the ability to time your own gear shifts is taken away from you. This means the gears will change based on the game’s interpretation of when the best time is, which may not always be the optimal time to shift.

Learning to use manual gears

When you first enable manual gears in F1 23, I would highly recommend enabling it with the suggested gear option. This will show on screen which gear you should be in for each corner, and can help you learn the correct gear to be in at any time.


You can also learn when to change gears by paying attention to your rev bar on your HUD, or on your steering wheel if you are racing with one. The rev lights will light up as you accelerate and when all lights are lit up, that is the perfect time to change up a gear.

You will also see a number next to your rev lights which is your current RPM readout. The ideal time to change gears in F1 23 is around 11,500-12,000 RPM. You can pay attention to this number and shift as it reaches this rev range.

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You can also hear your engine and learn the engine sounds to give you an audio clue as to when to shift gear. The pitch of your engine will increase as your revs increase. And once they hit the rev limit, they’ll sound like they are bouncing. You should always shift gear before hitting the rev limiter as this will lose you time and can damage your gearbox.

Finally, you can enable an audio cue in the settings which will beep when you should change up a gear. Many real-world Formula 1 drivers actually use an audio cue just like this while racing. This feature can be annoying as it will beep many times each lap, but can be useful when learning the ideal time to change gears.


Downshifting is actually the harder part of learning to race in F1 23 with manual gears. While upshifting happens at a slower pace, downshifting on the approach to a corner happens much faster.

You will often need to downshift 4 or 5 times within a few seconds as you brake into a corner. If you downshift too slowly, you’ll be losing potential performance. If you downshift too fast, you can lock your gearbox which could cause you to spin your car.

Again, you can pay attention to the rev lights as you downshift. Instead of lighting up, they will go out as you decelerate. Once all of the rev lights have gone out, that is the ideal time to downshift. However, this happens incredibly quickly, so looking at your rev bar whilst braking and turning into a corner can be very difficult.

Instead, try to get into a rhythm while downshifting and this will help it become second nature. Experiment with your timing of downshifts to really learn the ideal way to change gear while slowing down in F1 23.

Advanced gear shifting techniques

The main advantage of changing gears manually in F1 23 is that you can use your timing of changing gears to improve your performance and find additional lap time.

These advanced shifting techniques should really be practised once you feel comfortable with changing gears manually in F1 23.

Short shifting

Short shifting is the term given to changing gears earlier than the optimal rev range. This will dull the power of the engine and produce less ultimate power. However, it will also make accelerating from slower speeds much easier to do without spinning your wheels.

Short shifting should be used in low grip scenarios such as in wet weather, when you are losing grip in your tyres, or when accelerating from low speed.

Changing gears later than normal

Much like short shifting, you can also apply the opposite and shift gears later than normal, or hold gears for longer. This is useful when approaching a corner where you will need to downshift very soon.

Rather than shifting up a gear, just to then immediately shift down, it can sometimes be better and faster to hold your gear and not change up.

This technique is also useful when accelerating through a corner. When you change gear, you unsettle your car’s balance temporarily. If you are turning through a corner and you change gear, you may unsettle the car enough forcing it to lose grip.

Instead, holding onto the gear you are currently in until you round the corner and are straighter can sometimes help maintain stability and balance.

Engine braking

Engine braking is less of a technique and more something that your car does automatically. When you release the throttle, you will notice that your car starts to slow down automatically. This is due to engine braking and is down to the rotation of the engine limiting how fast the rear wheels spin.

This can be useful when trying to decelerate faster. When changing down gears, if you change gears slightly earlier than normal, you can force the engine to spin slower earlier. This will cause engine braking to force the car to decelerate at a faster rate and can reduce your braking distance.


As mentioned above, learning to drive F1 23 with manual gears is an incredibly tricky thing to learn and master. It completely changes the number of things you need to process while racing, adding additional processes into the mix.

However, using the tips above can increase the rate at which you can progress from automatic gears to manual gears. And this can in turn help you become faster in F1 23.

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Frequently asked questions

How do you use manual gears in F1 23?

Using manual gears starts by adjusting the transmission settings in the driver assists menu. Turn them to manual to start using manual gears. Then, you will need to change gear manually using the shifter paddles on your racing wheel or buttons on your controller every time you need to change gear. This can be up to 100 times per lap.

Are manual gears faster in F1 23?

Using manual gears in F1 23 can make you faster. You can use the gear changes to help speed up or slow down your car in different corners and scenarios.

Do you need to use clutch F1 23?

You do not need to use a clutch when changing gears in F1 23. The only time you need to use your clutch are during the race start and when exiting your pit box.

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