F1 23: How To Create The Perfect Setup: Step By Step Guide
The F1 23 pack is closer than ever this year, making car setups incredibly important. In this guide, I'll provide a step-by-step guide on how to create the perfect F1 23 car setup.
With a closer-than-ever grid in 2023 (other than Red Bull who are running away with the championship), a good car setup can be the defining factor that gives you a competitive edge over your competition.
The 2023 Formula 1 car is an evolution of the brand new cars that we saw last year, but a few things have changed significantly with car setups in F1 23.
In this F1 23 car setup guide, I’ll run through the whole process of creating a car setup, and how to perfect your setup. I’ll show the exact order that I approach creating all of the car setups that you can find on this website.
As I go through this step-by-step car setup guide, I’ll also highlight a few problem areas, and show you how I troubleshoot certain issues such as understeer and oversteer. And I’ll highlight how certain car setup changes can actually affect other parts of your car setup.
The goal is to by the end of this guide, you’ll have a good idea of what every change to your F1 23 car setup does and how it affects your car’s handling. So let’s jump right into the car setup process in F1 23.
Watch our video guide on how to create the best F1 23 car setup
Below is a complete video on how to create the ultimate F1 23 car setup from start to finish. If you don’t fancy watching the video, scroll below the video to continue reading our guide.
F1 23 car setup step-by-step guide
This guide is going to be a fairly long one, as I’m going to look at each part of an F1 23 car setup in detail. However, if you want a quick reference guide for future use, I’ll provide a quick step-by-step setup guide to follow each time you create a new car setup in F1 23.
Below is the TL;DR version of this F1 23 car setup guide. Use this for future reference as a quick guide to car setups.
- Initial driveability adjustments
Start by making sweeping adjustments. These include setting brake bias to 55%, brake pressure to 100%, and on-throttle differential down to around 55%.
- First practice run
After making these adjustments to the baseline car setup in F1 23, head out on track to get a feel for how your car behaves. Make a note of your tyre temperatures after putting in a few laps.
- Change tyre pressures & aerodynamics
Head back to the pits and make any aerodynamic setup changes required. Then refer to your tyre temperatures from practice run 1, and make tyre pressure adjustments.
- Second practice run
Check tyre temperatures again during this practice run, so you can make any further changes. After each change you make to your car setup, you should head back out on track and perform another practice run of at least 5 laps. I won’t keep saying this step in this guide, but remember to perform a practice run after every change.
- Suspension geometry
After making the above changes your car should feel relatively balanced. Now we get to the suspension tuning which makes a big difference to tyre wear and stability through corners.
- Suspension setup
After changing your suspension geometry and performing further on track practice runs, you can move on to your suspension which affects your car’s stiffness and stability while cornering.
- Adjust brakes and differential
Once you have a pretty well setup car, you can make further adjustments to your brake setup and differential setup.
- Make final adjustments to tyre pressures
The last step is to head out on to track for another 5 lap run minimum and check your tyre temperatures. Now you can make your final tyre pressure changes.
The golden rule of creating F1 23 car setups
So there is a single golden rule that you should follow when tweaking or creating a car setup in F1 23. And I’ll mention it throughout this guide.
The golden rule is that you should only really change one thing at a time.
If you start making multiple setup adjustments at once, you won’t know the exact result of each setup change. Your car may feel better or worse, but you won’t know if it was one change or the other that caused it.
Because of this, you should make a car setup change to a single part, and then test the change on track. This will give you clear feedback on the impact that the change has made. From there, you can keep the change and move on to another part, or revert back easily if the setup tweak hasn’t made the impact you were after.
Which game mode to use when creating car setups?
One of the most commonly asked questions that we get is, which game mode in F1 23 should you participate in when creating car setups? And the answer depends on what you are creating a car setup for.
Creating a time trial car setup
If you are looking to create the fastest single lap car setup to compete for the top spots on the time trial leaderboards. Then you should be using the time trial mode to create your car setup.
In time trial, the car will drive at the peak of its performance. Tyre temperatures and track temperature are set to their optimal conditions, and your tyres won’t wear over time.
This creates the perfect environment for posting the fastest lap times in F1 23.
Creating an F1 23 car setup for races, My Team or league racing
If however, you are creating a car setup to be used in a race, My Team or online league racing, then I’d recommend loading a Grand Prix weekend and heading into a practice session. You can set the exact weather conditions you are after to simulate the weather you are creating a setup for.
In a Grand Prix weekend, you’ll get three practice sessions, and access to all three dry tyre compounds. This allows you to create and test your car setup across the compounds that you would use in qualifying and during a race.
The downside of a Grand Prix weekend is that your tyres will wear over time, which will affect how your car behaves on track. And you only have limited sets of tyres.
I’d always recommend using each new set of the same tyre compound while creating a car setup. And then, once you run out of new tyres, quit the session, and reload a new Grand Prix weekend. This will restock your tyres and allow you to continue changing your car setup.
Always save your car setup
Just remember, before quitting the session, save your car setup progress, as it won’t be remembered by the game when you start a new session.
Step 1 – Initial driveability adjustments
The first car setup changes you should always make in F1 23 are the same no matter which car or track you are driving with. These initial adjustments are sweeping car setup changes, that will almost always positively affect your car’s performance.
This first step actually goes against the golden rule of a single setup change that I just mentioned. However, these setup changes are all completely independent of each other, and have no impact on each other.
These changes are designed to give you a base platform to work from, creating a car that is as easy to drive as possible. There are later steps where we will go back and tweak these setup changes further, so these aren’t your final setup values. Just a good base to work from.
And those initial setup changes in F1 23 are to adjust your brake setup, and your on-throttle differential setup.
- Change your brake bias to 55%
- Set your brake pressure to 100%
- Change your on-throttle differential to around 55%
Each of these changes makes your car a little more stable under both braking and acceleration.
Lowering your on-throttle differential will make your car easier to find traction when accelerating from slower speeds.
This can be adjusted further towards 50% if traction is still an issue, which can be the case at slow tracks like Monaco. Or it can be adjusted up closer to 100% if you are feeling happy with your traction on corner exit.
The brake bias set to around 55% is optimal in F1 23. But depending on track, this can be anywhere between 53% and 58%. If you are using ABS assist, you can lower this still to close to 50%, although this isn’t very realistic.
Step 2 – First practice run
The first practice run is an important one. This should be performed after you have made the initial adjustments to your car setup above.
During this practice run, you should start to feel where your car setup is letting you down and how it is performing. Chances are that the aerodynamic setup will be wrong at this stage, and you’ll either have too much downforce or not enough.
But the important area to pay attention to are your tyre temperatures. You can open up the MFD panel to keep an eye on your tyre temperatures while driving.
After around 5 laps or so, your tyre temperatures should start to settle at their average temperature. Note this down for each tyre as it’ll be important for the next step.
Once you have at least 5 or so laps under your belt, head back into the pits to start making some true car setup changes.
Step 3 – Tyre pressures & aerodynamic setup
Now, the first changes you’ll want to make will probably always be to the aerodynamic setup. You should have noticed during your first practice run where you were fast and where you were slow.
A bonus tip is that if you are creating your car setup during a Grand Prix weekend practice session, you can watch the other cars on the monitor in the pits as a reference.
You can also pay attention to your speed during speed traps which will flash up on screen while driving. And you can even try to follow other cars to see where they are faster or slower than you.
There are a few rules that can help you decide how to change your aerodynamic setup in F1 23;
- Too much understeer: Increase the front wing aero, or reduce the rear wing aero
- Too much oversteer: Increase the rear wing aero, or reduce the front wing aero
- Too slow on straights: Decrease both front and rear wing (rear wing has a bigger impact on straight line speed)
- Too slow around corners: Increase both front and rear wing aero
The above tips above will help you decipher whether you need to increase or decrease both your front or rear wing.
A good place to start is to take a look at the track layout you are racing on. Tracks with fewer corners and longer straights will reward a low downforce car setup. While tighter, slower tracks will require a higher downforce setup.
- A few examples of high downforce tracks are Monaco, Hungary, Singapore.
- Tracks that require a low downforce setup are Monza and Spa-Francorchamps.
Downforce vs drag
Your ultimate goal when setting up your aerodynamics in F1 23 is to create a car that has as minimal drag as possible, yet remains stable and competitive through corners.
Increasing your front and rear aerodynamics will always result in a more stable and overall nicer car to drive through corners. But too much downforce will increase drag which results in you being slower down straights.
If you’re slow down the straights, you’ll be incredibly easy to overtake and will struggle throughout a race distance. Aerodynamic setup is all about the balance between drag and downforce.
If you are struggling with a baseline aerodynamic setup, the preset car setups include a variety of different aero balances. You can try out the low downforce and high downforce preset car setups to see which you prefer, and then you can head in that direction for your own car setup.
Tyre pressure setup
The next phase of this part of your car setup in F1 23, is to make tyre pressure changes based on the tyre temperatures that you noted down in your previous practice run.
Your tyre temperatures have a huge effect on your overall level of grip, and can dramatically alter how your car behaves on track. This is why we’re going to make some adjustments to your tyre pressures early on in creating an F1 23 car setup.
Your optimal tyre pressures will also be affected by other setup changes that we’ll make later on in this guide, so we’ll revisit the tyre pressure setup as one of our final car setup steps. But for now, let’s get those tyres into a good working window.
Tyre temperature is a good indication of how your tyres will wear during a race. If your tyres are too hot, they’ll wear quicker throughout a race stint, and you will start to feel your car sliding on track.
If your tyres are too cold, you won’t be extracting the full grip potential from your tyres which will result in your car not gripping to the track and you being slower around a lap.
Below are the recommended tyre temperatures in F1 23 and their effect.
- Ideal tyre temperatures in F1 23: 95°C – 105°C
- Tyres colder than 95°C: They won’t produce enough grip: Increase tyre pressures
- Tyres hotter than 105°C: They will overheat and wear faster: Decrease tyre pressures
You can adjust each tyre pressure in F1 23, and this is very helpful if individual tyres are overheating or not getting hot enough, but others are OK.
I would recommend going through each tyre in the tyre setup screen, and applying the above changes. If a tyre is exceeding 98-100°C regularly, lower the tyre pressure. If it isn’t reaching at least 92°C, then increase that tyre’s pressure.
It’s important to note that the tyre pressure setup will also adjust other parts of your car setup. Higher tyre pressures will increase your car’s overall stiffness, making it ride bumps not as effectively.
Lower tyre pressures will increase traction on corner exit but will reduce overall responsiveness.
We will look to make finer tyre pressure adjustments later in the setup process, but for now, we are focusing entirely on getting the tyres into the right temperature window.
Step 4 – Second practice run
Once you have adjusted your tyre pressures and your aerodynamic setup, you should leave the pits on fresh tyres and perform another practice run. This should be at least 5 laps again.
During this practice run, your car should feel pretty different as the aerodynamic setup has a large impact on your car’s performance. Hopefully, the changes you have made will have positively affected your overall stability and performance throughout the lap.
We have also bought the tyre pressures into their working window, so you should have better tyre grip, which will also improve your performance.
While you should be analysing your overall performance, focus on your downforce and your drag as this is the area we have changed. Also check your tyre temperatures again to see if they are now in the correct temperature range.
You can come back to the pits and make further adjustments to both the aerodynamics and tyre pressures if you feel more changes are required.
But remember from this point onwards and when you are refining parts of your car setup, only make a single change at a time. Then perform another practice stint and review your progress.
Moving forward, I won’t include the practice runs as separate steps. But remember to continue to perform practice runs after every single change you make.
Step 5 – Suspension geometry
Your suspension geometry setup is made up of a few aspects, and it is an often overlooked part of a car setup.
Those who create car setups for F1 23’s time trials normally set these to either maximum or minimum values and leave them. And that is a valid approach for time trial, as it is often the fastest setup route.
However, when it comes to competing in longer races, the suspension geometry can have a big impact on tyre wear. An incorrect toe or camber setup, or one that has been created for time trial, may end up negatively affecting your tyre wear.
Camber is the term that is given to how your wheels lean in or out at the top when viewed from the front. Negative camber will make the tops of the tyres point in towards the body of the car.
More negative camber does a few things. It allows your car to lean more on the tyres as you corner. This is due to weight shifting towards the outside of your car as you turn. This weight shift will cause your car to roll or lean on the tyres more.
This brings more of the tyre surface into contact with the track surface, and can provide more ultimate mechanical grip, which allows for higher cornering speeds.
Negative camber also reduces how much of your tyre is in contact with the track surface when driving straight. Having more negative camber will reduce the friction between the tyre and track and can help a little with straight line speed.
Too much negative camber can have a big impact on your tyre wear. For a start, your tyres will wear unevenly as a lot of your tyres aren’t in contact with the track. You can also generate more tyre temperature as you lean more on your tyres through a corner.
This is why a time trial setup will often use the maximum negative camber available. It provides additional cornering grip, but can negatively affect your tyre wear during a race stint.
Your toe setup in F1 23 also adjusts the angle of your wheels, but this affects how much your tyres point in or out at the front when viewed from the top.
Toe out is the term given to tyres that point away from the car at the front. This is what most Formula 1 teams will run at the front of their cars at all times, as it increases car responsiveness.
Toe in is the opposite and refers to the tyres pointing in towards the car at the front. This is generally applied to the rear tyres, as toe in increases stability.
Setting up your toe in F1 23 is a balance between responsiveness, stability and drag.
- Higher toe out (front tyres): Increases responsiveness, reduces stability, increases drag, increases tyre temperature.
- Higher toe in (rear tyres): Increases stability, reduces responsiveness, increases drag, increases tyre temperature.
As you can see from the above, adding more toe either front or back, will increase drag, which in this instance refers to additional friction between the tyres and the track surface.
More drag will result in slower top speeds and will slow you down on straights. For this reason, most time trial setups will reduce toe right down to its minimum value for both front and rear tyres.
This is a valid approach and will provide a good balance between responsiveness, stability and minimising drag.
However, there are some scenarios where you will want to increase your toe setup.
- Car lacks stability: Increase rear toe
- Car understeers and isn’t responsive when turning: Increase front toe
- Car is too slow on straights: Reduce front and rear toe
During any of the above scenarios, making some toe adjustments will help. But remember that with increased drag, also comes increased tyre wear as your tyres will be scrubbing across the track surface more.
The ultimate goal of tweaking our suspension geometry in F1 23 is to make our car feel responsive, stable and limit tyre temperature build-up. This is a tricky balance to find but is part of an F1 23 car setup that shouldn’t be ignored.
Step 6 – Suspension Setup
One of the last major parts of your F1 23 car setup to change is the suspension setup. The setup options in here include the anti-roll bars, ride height and suspension stiffness.
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Each of these settings will adjust how stable your car is across kerbs and around corners.
I’ll start with the ride height setup as that is possibly the easiest part of your suspension setup to get right. Your ride height will adjust both your ultimate downforce potential and top speed.
The goal is to set your ride height as low to the ground as you can without the bottom of your car touching the track surface or kerbs throughout a lap.
- Lower ride height: Results in increased downforce and higher top speed potential
- Higher ride height: Less downforce, increased drag, more stability over kerbs and bumps
If you do set your ride height setup to low, the bottom of your car will make contact with the track surface over bumps and this will cause instability.
If your car bottoms out or touches the track, this can result in your car becoming unstable or even a complete loss of grip. Ultimately, you will want to avoid any touching at all costs.
Next, I’ll look at the anti-roll bar setup (ARB). This part of your suspension setup will adjust the amount your car rolls and leans while cornering.
Your ARB setup option can dramatically change how much speed you can carry through each corner, especially high speed corners. However, if tuned incorrectly, it can also cause instability mid corner resulting in oversteer or a spin.
- Stiffer anti-roll bars: Less body roll during cornering, increased responsiveness, increased instability.
- Softer anti-roll bars: More body roll while cornering, more stability, less responsive.
Softer ARBs will make your car easier to drive in most scenarios by increasing stability. However, it will come at the cost of slower mid corner speeds and reduced responsiveness on initial turn in.
You will normally want to stiffen your ARBs to the point where you car starts to become twitchy and harder to control. Then soften your ARBs a touch from that point and you should have a pretty optimal ARB setup.
It is important to note that a softer ARB setup will aid with tyre wear, while stiffer ARBs will increase tyre wear.
You can also offset your ARB stiffness between the front axel and the rear. This can introduce or eliminate some characteristics such as oversteer or understeer.
- Stiffer rear ARB/Softer front: Increased responsiveness, reduces understeer, more oversteer
- Stiffer front ARB/Softer rear: More stable, increased understeer
The last part of the suspension setup in F1 23 is the front and rear suspension. These tuning options give you the ability to stiffen or soften the overall suspension at the front and rear of your car.
This will change how your car behaves over bumps and kerbs as well as how weight shifts from the front and rear of your car when braking or accelerating.
- Softer suspension: Increased stability, less responsive
- Stiffer suspension: Increased responsiveness, increases unpredictability, increases tyre wear
Using your suspension setup to increase either responsiveness or stability is a good way to tune your car towards your driving preference.
If you have optimised the other parts of your car setup towards either increased pace or increased tyre wear, your suspension setup is now the chance to adjust responsiveness and stability.
Much like the anti-roll bar setup, you can also offset your suspension setup to increase and decrease understeer or oversteer. Increasing the front stiffness will result in a bit more responsiveness but can result in mid-corner understeer as the load increases.
Step 7 – Adjust brakes and differential
Once you have a fairly well rounded and optimised car setup in F1 23, you can make some tweaks to your brakes and differential setup. These are two parts of your car setup that we made adjustments to at the beginning, but now we can refine them.
Starting with the brake setup as that is the easier one to adjust, you may not actually need to make any further adjustments here over the original changes we made during step 1.
Your goal is to create brakes that don’t lock under braking and provide the best performance which is typically down to the brake bias.
Setting your brake pressure to 100% will result in maximum pressure being applied. If you lock your wheels often, you can reduce this slightly to reduce the pressure applied to your brakes although this will elongate your braking distance.
Your brake bias is the balance between how much force is applied to your front and rear brakes. A 50% brake bias will apply the same amount of force to both front and rear brakes. And in previous F1 games this has been the fastest route.
This has changed in F1 23, with a much more realistic brake bias being the best route. Opting for a brake bias of 55% will serve you well at most tracks. At tracks with shorter braking zones, you can lower this to 54 or 53%. And at tracks such as Monza with really heavy braking zones, you may want to increase it.
The on-throttle and off-throttle differential setup options are often the hardest part of a car setup to understand. While the on-throttle differential has a direct correlation to how easy it is to break traction, the off-throttle differential can be trickier to understand.
- Increased on-throttle diff: Makes rear wheels spin at closer speeds, increases ultimate traction during fast corners, can cause loss of traction at slow speeds
- Decreased on-throttle diff: Harder to break traction at slow speeds, easier to drive out of slower corners
If you are struggling to apply the power without your rear wheels spinning, or learning to drive without traction control in F1 23, lowering your on-throttle diff setup will help.
Lower diff settings allow your wheels to spin more independently of each other. The closer you go towards a 100% diff setup, the more your rear wheels are forced to rotate at the same speed.
Higher on-throttle diff setups will increase ultimate speed out of faster corners, with both wheels pushing you through the corner exit. However, it will also make spinning your wheels much easier, especially at slower speeds.
I’d normally recommend lower on-throttle differential setups as it will increase stability under acceleration. This is especially useful as your tyres wear during a race or in wet conditions.
Your off-throttle differential is a little bit different. Your off throttle differential affects the balance of your car while you are not applying any throttle. Lower settings will loosen your car, while higher settings will tighten your car up during braking and the lift off phase of a corner.
- Increased off-throttle diff: More understeer on corner entry, more stability
- Decreased off-throttle diff: Increased corner turn in, can cause off throttle oversteer
Ideally, you’ll want to lower your off-throttle diff close to 50%. However, if you experience any oversteer on corner entry that isn’t related to your rear brakes locking, you may need to increase your off throttle diff setup.
Step 8 – Final tyre pressure adjustments
Now we reach the last stage of our car setup process in F1 23. You should have a really well balanced car by now. And if you have any issues, repeat the steps above, with plenty of practice runs in between each change.
Now it is time to adjust your tyre pressure setup to its final setting. During your practice run after making your differential setup changes, make another note of your tyre temperatures.
You can use these temperatures to change your tyre pressures for the final time to ensure each tyre pressure is set up correctly.
In some occasions, only minimal tyre pressure changes will be required from when we first adjusted them during step 3. Other times, you may need some bigger setup changes as your car could be much harsher on your tyres, especially if you’ve created an aggressive car setup.
If you can’t make any further tyre pressure changes, but your tyres are still overheating or not generating enough heat, you can make the following changes to affect your tyre temperatures.
- To lower tyre temperatures: Decrease pressures, soften your suspension, reduce toe or camber
- To increase tyre temperatures: Increase pressures, stiffen your car, add higher angles or toe and camber
Hopefully, this F1 23 car setup guide will have shown you the best route to creating the most optimal car setup. And hopefully, the explanations have provided a good understanding of how each part of your car setup changes its behaviour.
If you need to make any further setup changes, run through the steps above from 1 through to 8 until you find the setup changes that make the difference. Now all that is left, is to head out on track and test your setup.
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Frequently asked questions
How to create a car setup in F1 23?
You can create a custom car setup in F1 23 from the garage menu while in a session. Once you are loaded into your garage during a race session or time trial, you can access the car setup menu. From there, make any changes you would like to change and then save your car setup.
Which setup changes can you make while racing?
You can change a few car setup settings while racing or after parc ferme. These include your front wing angle, your on-throttle differential and your brake bias. These can all be changed from the MFD menu while racing. A front wing angle change has to be made in a pit stop and isn’t instant.
What is the differential setting for the F1 23?
The on-throttle differential changes how your two rear wheels spin with each other. The higher this setting, the more locked together your rear wheels become. This will give you more drive out of corners but increase the chances of spinning your rear wheels. Lowering this setting will decrease your chances of wheel spin.