F1 23 Race Strategy Guide: Pit Stops, Fuel & Tyres

Choosing the best race strategy is an incredibly important decision in F1 23 and can change your whole race. Here, I look at how to choose the best strategy for each race and each track in F1 23.

F1 23 Race strategy screen

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What is race strategy in F1 23

Race strategy in F1 23 is the strategy that you set before every race. This screen is important during longer races where pit stops occur, and it can be vital to securing the fastest overall race time and highest finishing position.

The race strategy screen allows you to adjust your starting tyre along with the lap that you plan to pit on and which tyre you will go on to. You can also adjust your starting fuel load and get a preview of your overall race time on a specific strategy.

Setting a good race strategy can make a huge difference to your finishing position and choosing to pit earlier or later than the opposition can increase the likelihood of you gaining positions during the pit sequence.

In this guide, I’m going to run through the entire race strategy screen as well as give you our tips for the best race strategy in F1 23.


Understanding the race strategy screen in F1 23

The race strategy screen is the settings screen that you will see before the start of a race. This is where you will change everything to do with your race strategy.

While changing your strategy, you’ll receive real-time updates on the predicted race time along with charts to show estimated tyre wear. This information is incredibly useful when deciding on when to pit and how many pit stops will be required.

You’ll be presented with a few key choices when settings your race strategy in F1 23. You have to choose;

  • Your starting tyre compound
  • How many pit stops you’ll make
  • What lap you will pit on
  • What tyres you will use further into the race
  • Your starting fuel level
F1 23 Race strategy screen

Number of pit stops

One of the most important decisions is choosing exactly how many pit stops you’ll make. During shorter race distances of around 25%, you will rarely be required to make more than one pit stop. But during longer races or races with changing weather, you may have to make two or sometimes three pit stops.

This decision is incredibly important due to the amount of time each individual pit stop takes. An average pit stop in F1 23 will take anywhere between 20-30 seconds depending on the track layout.

If you choose to make an additional pit stop compared to your opponents, you will have to make up 20-30 seconds to finish ahead of them during a race.

This is why the decision is so important. Do you choose to make an extra pit stop, which will allow you to push harder and lap faster on fresher tyres. Or do you play it more conservatively and use harder tyres which will be slower across a single lap but last longer and make fewer pit stops.

F1 23 pit stop gameplay

There isn’t a right and wrong decision as each race scenario will present a different strategic decision. If you are starting closer to the back of the grid, you may choose to use the slower, harder tyre and complete less pit stops. This may be faster as you wouldn’t be able to use the pace advantage from the faster, softer tyre.

However, if you are starting at the front of the grid, you may feel you have the pace to complete an additional pit stop, therefor a two-stop strategy could be better.

Tyre choices

Along with making choices on how many times to pit during a race, you also have to consider which tyres you wish to use throughout a race. There are always three different dry compound tyres to choose from and two wet weather tyres.

Each tyre has its own pros and cons. It is important to note that if you are running a race in F1 23 where pit stops are required and the race remains dry, it is the rule to have to use two different tyre compounds during a race. This can be any combination of the three dry compounds, but you always need to use at least two of the three compounds during a dry race.

Below is an overview of each tyre that is available in F1 23;

  • Soft dry tyre: This is the fastest tyre in F1 23. It will allow you to post the fastest lap times but will wear faster than all other tyres.
  • Medium dry tyre: The medium tyre is normally a good race tyre. It is a combination of being faster than the hard tyre, but it wears slower than the soft tyre.
  • Hard dry tyre: The hard tyre in F1 23 is the slowest dry tyre but it lasts longer than the soft and medium. This is ideal for longer race stints.
  • Intermediate tyre: Intermediate tyres are used during light rain conditions. They aren’t good enough for heavy rain, but provide good levels of grip when it is lightly raining.
  • Full wet tyre: The full wet tyre is reserved for use during heavy rain conditions only. It is designed to clear as much surface water as possible.

What’s the difference between the default strategy and alternative strategy in F1 23?

When you first look at the race strategy screen in F1 23, you’ll be presented with two different strategy options. The default strategy is the most common or highest recommended strategy. This is what the majority of drivers are likely to use.

The alternative strategy is a different strategy type giving you an example option of an alternate strategy. If the default strategy is a one-stop strategy, then the alternative will often show you a two-stop option.

You will be able to see the difference in ultimate race time for both strategies. This can help you decide which strategy will be faster across a complete race distance.

F1 22 Game Pitstops

Choosing between a 1 or 2 pit stop strategy

Choosing between either a one-stop or two-stop pit strategy in F1 23 comes down to a few factors. The first factor is the overall race time. You will normally want to choose the race strategy that allows you to complete the race in the fastest time. However, in some situations, this won’t always be the fastest option.

If you are starting out of position, for example, you may want to run an alternative race strategy to cater to cars around you.


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A two-stop pit strategy is great if you plan on attacking cars around you, and you feel that you can make up lap time and race positions quickly.

Normally, a one-stop strategy is likely to be the recommended option, but if the tyre wear is on the limit, or you fancy being aggressive, you can opt for a two-stop strategy instead.


Tyre strategy and starting tyres

Choosing your tyre strategy for a race in F1 23 is very important. As a general rule, you’ll want to be on the fastest tyres that can complete the race in the fewest pit stops.

As an example, in a short race, starting on the soft tyre and then pitting on to the medium tyre is often the best strategy. However, if this will cause the tyres to wear too much, you could opt for a soft and then hard strategy or a medium and hard strategy.

These two options won’t allow you to lap as fast as being on a soft, medium strategy, but if they let you complete the race while only stopping once, it could be worth considering.

Choosing which tyre to start on normally comes down to your starting position and strategy for the first race stint. If you are starting towards the front of the grid, you will likely want to start on the fastest tyre possible to give you the best chance of leading into the first corner and keeping up with the fast cars around you.

But, if you are starting further towards the back of the pack, being stuck behind slower cars can mean being on faster tyres is wasted. This could cause you to flip your tyre strategy and start on the slower tyre, and finish on the faster tyre once you are in free air later in the race.


Plan the best lap to pit on

Choosing when to pit is highly dependent on the life of your starting tyre and the cars that will likely be around you when you pit.

Often, you will want to maximise the life of your starting tyre. This means pitting later which gives you the chance to push harder on the second tyre that you fit during a race.

However, if you feel you will likely be stuck behind slower cars during the first part of the race, you may want to pit earlier to get into clear air. This can allow you to put in faster lap times while the slower cars are still on track. This can result in you overtaking the slower cars once they finally do pit.

Considering weather changes

Another important area to consider when choosing what lap to pit on is the predicted weather. If it is likely to rain later in the race, you may want to pit on a later lap to avoid having to stop twice.

You can see the predicted weather along the top of the race strategy screen. These small weather icons give you an overview of what lap it is expected to rain, if at all.

Often a good strategy is to start on harder tyres while trying to eek the tyre life out until the rain starts, and then pit straight onto intermediate tyres.


Undercutting or overcutting

A couple of terms that you’ll often hear when watching Formula 1 on TV are undercutting and overcutting. These refer to the strategy of pitting earlier or later than cars around you. Depending on the track and your strategy, both an undercut or overcut strategy are potential options.

What is an undercut in F1 23?

Undercutting is the term given to pitting a few laps before the cars around you. This strategy is designed to get you out on track with fresher, faster tyres before your direct competition. This will let you put in a few laps on the faster tyre, and potentially overtake the car that you were following before the pit stop.

This is a pretty aggressive strategy call and can result in you having to deal with more worn-out tyres towards the end of the race due to pitting earlier than other cars.

A few things to remember when deciding whether to undercut are the tyres that you and the other drivers will be pitting onto and the fact that the new tyres will be cold and not up to the ideal temperature for the first few laps out of the pit lane.

If you start on soft tyres, you will normally be pitting onto either medium or hard tyres. Despite being fresher tyres, they may actually be slower than your worn-out soft tyres, meaning they may not be as fast.

You also have to contend with your tyres being cold. For the first one or two laps out of the pits, your tyres won’t be up to racing temperature. Cold tyres provide less grip than tyres in the ideal temperature window, meaning you could actually be at a disadvantage if you try to undercut other cars.

What is an overcut?

While undercutting is the term given to pitting earlier than those around you, overcutting is the term for pitting after others around you.

For all of the reasons mentioned above for why an undercut strategy can sometimes be a little tough, these are the reasons why an overcut strategy can be great in F1 23.

Overcuts in F1 23 allow you to have fresher tyres towards the end of the Grand Prix, which let you attack those around you for the best final position.

Also, if tyres are struggling to warm up out of the pits, you may be able to put in a few fast laps on your older soft tyres that are already at the ideal temperature.


Adjusting the fuel level

One of the final decisions you’ll have to make for your race strategy is to adjust your starting fuel level. This will determine how hard you can attack during a race.

The benefits of lowering your starting fuel level are that your car will be lighter at the start of the race which can increase your pace each lap. This can give you an advantage at the start of the race and can let you attack those around you.

However, you will also have to conserve fuel later into the race to be able to make it to the end of the Grand Prix. That will mean you may have to lift and coast or accelerate less aggressively. However, if you have already gained positions during the first race stint, you may be able to defend or hold off against the opposition if you do have to lap a little slower towards the end.


Conclusion

Race strategy is a great opportunity for you to gain the advantage on cars around you before you even start the race. Making a good plan of when to pit in relation to other cars can give you a tactical advantage during a race.

Try to remember your predicted pit lap during the race so you know when you can attack and when to save fuel and tyres.


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Frequently asked questions

Is an undercut or overcut better in F1 23?

Both undercuts and overcuts can be good strategies in F1 23. Generally, an overcut is better strategy most of the time due to cold tyres when leaving the pits.

Should I reduce my starting fuel level?

It is recommended to reduce your starting fuel a little bit. You may have to preserve fuel towards the end of a Grand Prix, but you will be significantly faster at the start of the race.

Is a one-stop or two-stop race strategy best?

A one-stop strategy is often the recommended strategy as it can often be the fastest strategy. However, if you are starting in traffic, or feeling aggressive, you could opt for a two-stop strategy.

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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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