Austrian F1 2021 setup guide
The Austrian Grand Prix circuit is one which F1 fans should know very well know. We saw two races around this circuit in 2020 to start the season, and it returns to its normal place on the calendar in F1 2021.
It’s a track which is known for its combination of long straights and sweeping high speed corners. And it’s a track which is extremely fun to drive in F1 2021. However, having the right car setup around Austria is key to a competitive race.
Low downforce, high top speed is key
Austria is one of the fastest circuits in F1 2021, beaten only by Monza, Silverstone and Spa. It’s also the track which sees the quickest lap time of the year. Because of this extremely high average speed you will want to focus on producing an efficient low downforce car setup.
You should run a relatively low front aero setup, with slightly higher rear aero. The reason for this is that the front aerodynamics have a greater impact on top speed than the rear does.
Because of this we want to reduce the front wing angle as much as possible, without creating a car which is too prone to understeer on corner entry. The higher rear aerodynamic setup will force the rear of the car into the ground when you turn into the fast sweeping corners such as turns 6 and 7 and 9 and 10.
You will want to ensure you have enough rear downforce so that you can attack these corners with confidence. If you setup your car with too little rear downforce, then your rear end will have the potential to be twitchy under quick direction change, and you’ll ultimately have to comprimise on your mid corner speed. Something you definitely don’t want to do around Austria!
Traction isn’t as important around Austria in F1 2021
Due to the Austrian track consisting of mainly fast corners, you wont need to rely too heavily on your cars rear traction. Effectively you wont be going slow enough around most of the track to ever break traction under acceleration.
However, turns 3 and 4 do have the potential to cause some issues. Both of these turns are much slower than the rest of the circuit, with turn 3 in particular being an extremely tight and slow corner.
Traction out of turn 3 especially is always hard to come by. You don’t want to comprimise your setup too much by lowering your differential setup, as this will hurt your overall lap time. Instead, this corner will take a lot of practice, and very good throttle management.
You can always adjust your on-throttle differential on the fly, during a race. If you are struggling with your corner exit out of turns 3 and 4, look to manually lower your diff using your MFD as you approach these corners.
Softer is better around Austria
You would think that due to the high speed nature of the Austrian track in F1 2021, that you should stiffen your car’s setup. However, you will be driving all over the kerbs if you want to maximise your lap time.
Having a softer suspension setup will help stop your car from feeling twitchy or reacting badly to kerbs. Especially through the middle and last sectors of the track, you must use all of the kerb on corner exit to find the best lap time. The last thing you want is a car which feels unsteady when attacking the track.
You’ll also be leaning on your car a lot during the high speed corners, which means you should look to setup your car with aggressive camber and toe. Tyre degredation is relatively low around Austria, allowing you to setup your car to be more aggressive than normal.
Having a softer suspension will also help offset some of the tyre wear which will be present from the aggressive suspension geometry. Don’t forget to keep some stiffness in your anti-roll bars. If you don’t your car will have too much body roll, which you certainly don’t want through quick direction changes.
Brake bias is very important
To really maximise your lap time, you should look to adjust your brake bias multiple times during a lap. For the slower corners you will want to adjust your brake bias forward slightly to reduce your stopping distance.
As soon as you are out of turn 4, you should adjust your brake bias setup more rearward in preparation for the faster sectors of the Austrian circuit. A more rearward brake bias will help keep your car stable during the faster sectors.