F1 23: How To Get The Perfect Race Start

Race starts in F1 23 are one of the harder parts of racing this year's F1 game. Traction is hard to find, and it can be easy to spin your rear wheels. This guide runs through how to get the perfect F1 23 race start.

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F1 23 Race Starts

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Race starts are easily one of the trickier parts of F1 23 to master. It’s one thing to practice and learn a track as best as you can, but you only really get one chance across a Grand Prix weekend to practice your race starts. And that is the race start itself.

Because of the limited practice time, a race start is often the part of the race that gets neglected and can result in a pretty disastrous start to your race. And that isn’t what you want after potentially progressing through all three qualifying sessions to bag a great starting position!

This task is made even tougher if you’re racing without traction control in F1 23. In this guide, I’ll provide our best tips and tricks for mastering your race start in F1 23, and getting the best launch off the line to start your race.

Are race starts the same in F1 23?

The general race start procedure in F1 23 is the same as in last year’s game. However, with the improvement to traction in F1 23, race starts this year are much easier. It is easier to get off the line without spinning your rear wheels and you can really challenge into the first corner.

F1 22 Perfect race start

View the best racing wheels for F1 23

The formation lap

The first part of a race start where you can start to make a difference is the formation lap. Of course, this only applies if you have the formation lap turned on in the settings, so be sure to go ahead and enable it! It can really help you get the best race starts in F1 23.

The formation lap is very similar to how it was in last year’s F1 game. You take control from your grid box, drive a full formation lap while staying close to the car in front, and then you finally line up in your grid box.

During the formation lap, you can do a few things to help improve your race start. The first is that you can actually practice your race start! The things that can help your race start during a formation lap are;

  • Practice your race start from the line at the start of the formation lap
  • Heat your tyres to ensure they provide the best grip off the line
  • Heat your brakes so they aren’t cold into the first corner
  • Make any final car setup adjustments from the MFD
  • Position your car either straight ahead or angle towards other cars to cover their starts
Broadcast formation lap

Practice your race start during the formation lap

Because you get control of your car right out of your grid box during the formation lap. You can actually practice your race start at the very beginning of the formation lap.

To do this, you can wait for the cars in front to start driving away, and then go through your race start procedure. Start by holding the clutch, and then rev to the ideal rev range. Finally, wait for the car in front to pull far enough in front, and then release the clutch and perform a practice start.

Accelerate just as you would during a real race start and shift up through the gears. Once you are far enough through your practice race start, lift off the throttle and slow down. Fall into line and then continue to proceed through the rest of the formation lap.

This is the perfect opportunity to see if there is anything you can improve on next time round when the race start will be the real thing.

Heat your tyres during the formation lap

The main thing you should be focusing on during the entire formation lap is to generate heat in your tyres. This will warm your tyres for the real race start, ensuring they are performing at their best when you really need them.

Hot tyres will provide more grip than cold tyres will, so ensure you do this all the way through the formation lap, especially through the last few corners on your way to the line.

To heat your tyres during the formation lap in F1 23, you can weave from side to side. This weaving will generate temperature in your tyres, and the more aggressively you do this, the hotter your tyres will get.

You should open the tyre temperature window via the MFD while you’re doing this to ensure you are heating your tyres enough. Watch your tyre temperatures as you weave through, and keep an eye on the carcass temperature (the inner part of the tyre).

This should be between 95-105°C for the optimum temperature. But remember, as you sit in your grid spot waiting for the other cars to line up in their grid spots, your tyres will start to cool. So aim for around 105°C or just over before stopping in your grid spot.

Be careful not to raise the temperature higher than this as this will cause excessive tyre wear. You definitely don’t want to be wearing your tyres out during the formation lap!

Heat your brakes

As well as heating your tyres, you should try to get some temperature into your brakes so they aren’t cold heading into the first corner.

You’ll be flying towards the first corner at anywhere from 100 to 180mph depending on the track you’re racing at. The last thing you want is to hit the brakes and they lock or don’t perform well because they are too cold!

Heat your brakes during the final stages of the formation lap by braking hard. You can then accelerate hard after braking to heat your rear tyres. Repeat this a few times just before you line up on the grid.

The best strategy for heating tyres and brakes on the formation lap in F1 23 is;

  • Open the temperature window on your MFD to see tyre and brake temperature.
  • Weave left and right down all straights around the formation lap.
  • Brake heavily into the last few corners and just before slowing into your grid spot to heat the brakes.
  • Complete a few burnouts before you line up on the grid to maximise rear tyre temperature.
  • Aim for your rear tyres to be around 100°C as you line up on the grid.

Make final setup adjustments

The formation lap is the perfect time to make any small tweaks to your car setup so it is as ready as possible for the race start.

Just before the final few corners, ensure your ERS and fuel deployment modes are set to their fastest setting for the best power off the line. Also, check your brake bias and lower your on-throttle differential to 50%.

A low on-throttle differential will help with extra traction off the line and reduce wheel spin. You can raise it back up once you are round the first few corners and settled into the race.

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These setup adjustments are designed to give you the very best launch off the line.

Lining up in your grid spot

A new feature that was added to last year’s F1 game was the ability to manually line up in your own grid box. This gives you full control over your positioning for the race start.

F1 22 line up in grid position indicator

You can choose to line up pointing straight at the racing line into the first corner, or you can position your car at an angle towards your nearest rival. The choice is yours.

However, the most important thing to do is to ensure you are in your grid both correctly and far enough forward. If you are outside your grid box, you could receive a penalty, and if you aren’t far enough forward, you will be giving up valuable meters to the cars around you.

As you approach the grid box, ensure you’re going slowly and you will see the positioning graphic pop up on screen. This shows you the ideal position and changes colour to purple once you are perfectly in your grid spot.

As soon as the graphic turns purple, you are in your perfect grid spot and you should apply the brakes completely to stop moving any further.

Choose the right RPM for the start

Once you have completed the formation lap, warmed up your tyres, set your ERS and fuel mix to maximum and lined up in your grid spot, its now onto the hard part of a race start in F1 23.

Now, you should start to rev to the correct RPM in preparation for the start. Only do this once all other cars are lined up and the lights start to turn red. You’ll typically have a few seconds to rev to the right RPM while the start lights are turning on.

F1 22 Master race starts Get the perfect start

You won’t want to be accelerating at 100% pressure for the race start. If you’re racing without traction control this will result in an embarrassing spin off the line.

Instead, only press your throttle pedal (or button on a controller) to around 50%. This may not seem like much, but when you think you’re about to send close to 1,000 horsepower to your rear wheels as soon as the lights turn green, it makes you realise 50% throttle is more than plenty!

The magic number, and ideal rev range you should be aiming for should be around 12,000 RPM.

Try to keep this consistent while you’re waiting for the lights to go out, and don’t fall into the trap of revving more just before the race start. Once you are revving at 12,000 RPM or there about, keep your throttle pedal still and wait for the lights to go out.

Perfecting you launch off the line

Once the lights do go out, do not suddenly accelerate more than the 50% you already have applied. This will overwhelm the rear wheels and cause you to spin your wheels and possibly spin.

Instead, keep a calm head, and release the clutch while keeping the same amount of throttle pressure applied. You will start to pull away from the line and start to feel the tyres grip the track.

You’ll very quickly need to short shift into second gear, and then third. While doing this, maintain your 50% throttle pressure. Short shift before the rev lights light up completely. This will help dull the torque a little and prevent your wheels from spinning.

As you start to accelerate towards third gear or just after, you can start to apply more throttle pressure. Don’t apply this too suddenly though as you can get the perfect launch off the line and then blow it all by accelerating too hard shortly after. You can spin your rear wheels all the way up to around fifth gear, so don’t get too trigger-happy on the throttle.

You should be close to full throttle when you’re in fourth gear, however, this may vary depending on the situation. At some tracks with less grip, you may need to be a little more gentle, and in the rain you’ll need to be extra careful, applying much less throttle input.

Using medium traction control

If you are racing with medium traction control enabled, you can be a little more aggressive on the throttle pedal, although I would recommend to try and follow the above process exactly.

You can shift up and apply more throttle earlier with medium traction control, as the traction control will kick in to reduce wheel spin. Although if you accelerate at 100% for the race start, you can still spin your rear wheels, even with medium traction control applied.

Braking into the first corner

If you’ve nailed your race start and are holding position or gained a few positions off the line, you’re doing pretty good so far. But do not forget the first corner.

Choosing a braking spot in to the first corner is extremely difficult. On one hand, you’ll typically be travelling slower than you normally would on a hot lap, so you could brake later.

F1 22 race start positioning

But on the other hand, you’re tyres and brakes won’t be fully up to temperature, despite a perfect formation lap. And the cars around you will bunch up on the corner entry. This can often lead to you having to brake earlier than expected into the first corner, especially if you are starting in the middle of a group of cars.

Try to pay attention to cars around you or slightly ahead. You can often see cars that are a few rows ahead start to brake, which will show you exactly when to brake yourself.

When you do brake into the first corner, be aware of cars around you, as they may be braking earlier or later than you do, and this can cause some cars to be travelling at different speeds.

If you’re feeling sneaky, this is the perfect opportunity to make up a few easy positions if the cars around you do bunch up!

Positioning your car

Before you even reach the braking zone of the first corner, try to position your car exactly where you want to be. You may want to take the inside of a corner to try and pass a car or two. Or the inside might be a pinching point, and actually, the outside of the corner may lead to a faster corner exit.

Decide this on the way towards the braking zone, and be aware of where the cars are positioned around you. You may not be able to make drastic moves left or right, as you’ll more than likely have cars alongside you. Instead, try to slowly move to where you want to be on the approach to the corner.

  • Inside of the first corner:
    • Opportunity for overtakes
    • Cars may be travelling slower than on the outside
    • Could be a pinch point
  • Outside of the first corner:
    • Can sometimes carry more speed through the corner
    • This can result in a better corner exit
    • If a car inside you has issues, they could hit you or force you off track

Don’t jump start

With full control over the race start, there are a few ways you can quickly ruin your race or earn a penalty. Race ruiner number one is to apply too much throttle at the race start and spin your car. You could also miss your grid spot during the formation lap and earn a penalty for not stopping in the right position.

The next way to ruin your race very quickly is to jump the start lights. This will grant you a drive-through penalty, costing you up to 30 seconds depending on the pit lane length.

Jump start drive through penalty

It can be very easy to do. A simple slip of the clutch, or simply anticipating the lights to go out slightly too early can lead to this common mistake.

It is important to note that the lights don’t always go out at the same time each race. In some races, the start lights will stay red for longer, while in some races they will go out very quickly.

This is to stop drivers from anticipating the lights going out and turns the race starts into a reaction game, rather than a guessing game.

Rather than trying to guess when the lights will go out, try to wait and react as fast as you can. It is always better to wait and lose a split second off the line than it is to jump the start and earn a drive-through penalty.

Consider a racing wheel

Our last tip on how to perfect your race start in F1 23, is to invest in a racing wheel. This isn’t a requirement as many F1 23 drivers are extremely quick using a controller. However, using a racing wheel adds an extra level of immersion and precise control.

With a physical racing pedal, you have a much greater range of travel compared to a trigger on a controller. This extra pedal travel allows for more precise control. This means that it can be easier to find that perfect rev range using a pedal compared to a controller.

View our guide on the best racing wheels for F1 23

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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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