F1 23: How To Drive Without Assists

F1 23 has a large number of driving assists which are designed to make the game easier to drive and manage. In this guide I'll look at our top tips on how to race without assists enabled.

F1 23 on board gameplay Alfa Romeo Canada

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In this guide, I’ll look at the most common assists in F1 23, along with our top tips on how to drive without them. I’ll look at popular assists such as traction control, ABS, the racing line and more.

For an in-depth look at what every assist in F1 23 does, read our F1 23 complete assists guide. That guide will run through every assist in the game, along with how to enable or disable them.

In this guide, I’ll focus on the key F1 23 assists and provide more detailed tips on how to race without them.

F1 23 Assists explained

Assists in F1 23 are designed to increase a player’s enjoyment of the game by making the tricky-to-drive Formula 1 car slightly easier to drive. The assists will automate some elements of F1 23 or improve the ease of use for others.

Assists such as ERS and DRS management will automate these parts of an F1 car. While assists such as traction control and ABS act as intermediaries to make certain parts of the car easier to drive.


Do assists make you slower in F1 23?

The big question before we proceed any further is “do assists slow you down in F1 23”? And the easier answer is yes, they will make you slower. This is because each assist intervenes in one way or another and limits the overall performance of your car.

Traction control dulls the engine’s power to make acceleration easier. ABS limits the ultimate braking performance potential to avoid your wheels from locking. And the automatic gearbox assist won’t fully maximise the potential that racing with manual gears has.

Despite this, some assists such as the racing line and the DRS assist can actually make you faster by helping you learn the track faster.


Which F1 23 assists should you disable first

No matter your skill level, there are a few assists that you can disable as soon as you turn on F1 23 for the first time. These assists are either very minimal or take away too much control to the point where it can limit enjoyment.

These assists that should be turned off first are;

  • Steering assist
  • Braking assist
  • Pit assist
  • Pit release assist
  • DRS assist
  • ERS assist
F1 23 Assists Screen

Steering and braking assist

The steering and braking assist both take away significant control from you in-game. They’re both useful if you have accessibility requirements, however other than this, they take away a lot of control. Steering assist will take control over all steering in F1 23 and braking assist takes away all braking requirements.

Pit assist and pit release assist

The pit assist will automatically slow you down on the entry to the pit lane and into your pit box. This is a relatively easy part of an overall race and can relatively easily be managed.

The pit release assist is equally less impactful. This removes your control when exiting your pit box. Again this can easily be managed yourself in a race as it just requires a race start-like procedure of holding the clutch and accelerating.

DRS assist and ERS assist

The DRS and ERS assists are possibly the two least impactful assists in F1 23. DRS assist will enable the DRS automatically when within a second of the car in front in a DRS zone.

The ERS assist will automatically apply the overtake mode throughout a race. ERS can be managed relatively easily or set to automatic if you don’t fancy enabling it throughout a race.


Driving with manual gears

Turning automatic gears off and racing with manual gears in F1 23 is without a doubt one of the toughest assists to disable. It adds another level of immersion into the game and another element to control.

When you realise that you will have to change gears up to 100 times each lap, that’s a whole lot of extra things you need to remember to do. That’s on top of accelerating, braking and all the other parts of an F1 race you need to pay attention to.

You’ll have to learn to both shift up at the right time and downshift up to 7 times on the approach to a corner.

Upshifting

Upshifting is the easier of the two gear changes that need are needed to be learnt. Changing up gears is much more spaced out than downshifting, and the visual and audio cues are easier to recognise.

Top tips on learning when to upshift in F1 23 include;

  • Listening for the sound of the engine which becomes higher pitched as the revs increase.
  • Watching the rev lights to all light up before shifting.
  • Watching the rev counter to see when it reaches 11,500 – 12,000, then shifting up.
F1 23 When to upshift with manual gears

Downshifting

Downshifting is definitely a trickier technique to learn as you will need to downshift at a much faster rate. On the approach to a corner, you may need to downshift up to 7 times within a few seconds.

This is because the deceleration rate is much higher when braking than accelerating is. The visual and audio cues are also harder to spot as they come at you so fast.


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The same cues apply, the noise of the engine, the rev lights and the RPM readout, all just in reverse. You change down a gear when all rev lights go out or when the engine sound dulls.

During braking, it is a good idea to know how many gears you are going to need to downshift. If you’re approaching in 7th gear, and you know that at the apex of the corner you need to be in 2nd gear, you’ll need to downshift 5 times.

Then, as you start braking and the rev lights go out, start the sequence of downshifting. The downshifts happen much faster at the start of the deceleration phase and they slow as your car slows.

The best way to learn the rate of downshifting is to practice. If you downshift too slow, you’ll reach the apex before you are in the correct gear, and if you downshift too fast, you can notice the rear of the car start to lock and become loose.


Dynamic racing line

One of the more helpful F1 23 assists is the dynamic racing line. This assist overlays a racing line on the track ahead of you and colours it green, orange or red to show you when to brake and accelerate.

This assist is fantastic for learning a new track or trying to push the limits of a corner to find additional time. When racing a track for the first time, I’d always recommend enabling the racing line.

This will let you very quickly learn the correct parts of the track to be on and when to brake and accelerate. Once you feel comfortable with the correct racing line, you can turn off the dynamic racing line assist.

You can then start to use your muscle memory along with trackside scenery to remember the ideal braking points.

F1 23 dynamic racing line assist

The correct racing line

Most tracks and corners use the same principle for the best racing line. Typically, you will start on the outside of the track before cutting across to the apex on the inside and then back out wide on the exit of the corner.

While all corners are different, many follow this same principle;

  • Position your car at the outside of the track.
  • Keep an eye on brake markers at the side of the track as a reference point for when to start braking.
  • Brake in a straight line on the approach to the corner, and reduce your brake pressure as your car slows.
  • Clip the inside of the track before accelerating out of the corner and drifting out wide.

When learning a track keep an eye out for braking reference markers at the side of the track while the racing line is enabled. Then when you disable the racing line, you will still have some references for when to start braking.

Below are a few tips on how to disable the racing line;

  • Learn a track while the racing line is enabled.
  • Complete laps until you feel comfortable with the racing line and track layout.
  • Pay attention to reference points around the track that align with your braking zones.
  • Disable the racing line.
  • Use the reference markers to know when to brake.
  • Follow other cars during practice sessions to learn where they are fast and how much speed to carry through corners.

ABS

The ABS (anti-lock braking system) is designed to prevent your wheels from locking under braking in F1 23. It kicks in while you are braking just before your wheels lock, and prevents them from locking. It does this by reducing the brake pressure to ensure your wheel doesn’t lock.

Unlike some motorsports that do use ABS, Formula 1 doesn’t allow ABS. Instead, the drivers have full control over the brake pressure and it is up to them to modulate the braking force to avoid lockups.

When first learning to drive the cars in F1 23 it can be tricky to manage the brakes without locking up. For this reason, ABS is useful to be enabled while you learn other parts of the game.

Learn more about ABS assist and how to race without it in our F1 23 ABS guide.

How to disable ABS in F1 23

Disabling ABS in F1 23 can be done from the assists menu, but will require you to modulate the brake pressure without any driver aids.

The only way to really learn to drive without ABS is to practice driving without it. Although some tips are very helpful while trying to learn this.

  • When braking always try to brake in a straight line.
  • Apply more brake pressure at the start of a braking zone and less as you slow down.
  • Slower corners require less braking force.
  • As you apply steering lock, you will need to reduce brake pressure.

Following the key tips above can make braking without ABS in F1 23 easier to learn. The key point to know is that the slower you are travelling, the less braking force is required. If you are already travelling at a slow speed on the approach to a corner, you will likely not need 100% brake pressure to slow your car.

Braking at full pressure at slower speeds can overwhelm your brakes which is the key reason why they lock.


Traction control

Another incredibly difficult F1 23 assist to disable and race without is traction control. This assist helps to prevent the rear wheels from spinning while accelerating which is something that is very common with the 2023-spec Formula 1 car.

If you have raced F1 23 without traction control enabled, you will notice almost right away that accelerating out of a corner, especially a slower corner can cause the rear wheels to spin. This happens when you accelerate too hard and the rear wheels break traction.

Traction control is designed to kick in just before your wheels break traction and to stop them from spinning. It does this by reducing the power that is being sent to the rear wheels. For this reason, traction control will slow you down as it’s reducing the ultimate power.

How to stop spinning in F1 23

So, the big question is, how do you stop the rear wheels from spinning in F1 23 when you disable traction control. And the answer is simple, yet in practice it’s incredibly hard to do.

The answer is that you need to modulate how much throttle pressure you apply as you accelerate. At slower speeds, you’ll have to apply much less throttle pressure before you reach the limits of grip and traction. At higher speeds, you can apply more throttle.

So when accelerating out of a slow corner;

  • You’ll need to start by accelerating very gently.
  • Apply very little throttle and short shift to avoid the revs becoming too high.
  • Then as you start to speed up, you can gradually apply more throttle.
  • Try to only accelerate at 100% throttle pressure when in a straight line.

This gradual application of throttle pressure is the ultimate key to driving in F1 23 without traction control.

Use your on-throttle differential to stop spinning

One very powerful tool you have at your disposal in F1 23 to help learn to drive without traction control is your on-throttle differential setup. You can tweak this at any point during a race.

Your on-throttle differential setup changes the speed at which each rear wheel spins in relation to each other. The higher this setting, the more your rear wheels are forced to spin at the same speed. The lower the setting, the more freely each wheel can spin.

The key to using the on-throttle diff to help with wheel spin is to lower it down close to 50%. This will let each rear wheel spin as freely as possible which will help reduce the rate at which your wheels break traction.


Overview

Hopefully, these tips on how to drive in F1 23 without assists will help you on your journey to challenging for the world championship! Take your time as you progress from driving with assists to disabling them, and I’d recommend tackling one assist at a time.

Learn how to drive without one assist and practice until you feel comfortable. And then move on to disabling another assist. Over time, you’ll become comfortable driving without any assists enabled in F1 23.


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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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