Azerbaijan F1 2021 setup guide
Azerbaijan is a tricky circuit to create a car setup for in F1 2021. It is characterised by its extremely long straight, combined with a few very technical sectors. Most notably is the castle section of track, which is home to one of the skinniest parts of track across the whole F1 season.
Speed vs downforce
When setting up your car for Baku in F1 2021, you need to constantly be aware of the long straight. Coming in at 2.2 kilometers long, the pit straight is the longest straight on the Formula 1 calendar. This is the part of the track where the majority of overtaking will take place. Meaning you can’t ignore it in your setup.
If you prioritise downforce and setup your car too much for the technical middle part of the track, you will struggle to overtake or defend during the race along the pit straight.
With this in mind you should look to prioritise a low downforce setup, which will be similar to a typical Monza car setup. Even away from the long pit straight, the Baku circuit does share some similarities to the Italian track with the quick direction changes that are present throughout the lap, and especially in the final sector.
A perfectly balanced Baku setup will combine reasonably low front wing angles, with a low to average rear wing setup. This will allow you to be as quick as possible down the main straight, while keeping your car responsive through the more technical corners.
Managing wheel spin around Baku
The majority of the corners through the first and second sectors of the lap feature 90 degree corners followed by reasonably long straights. Managing your tyres and traction is absolutely crucial to maximising your time through these corners.
You will find yourself accelerating hard from reasonably low speeds. During these parts of the lap, your rear tyres will want to spin up on corner exit. To try and combat this, you can setup your car with low on-throttle differential.
Having a lower on-throttle diff setup will prevent some of the potential tyre spin, and will give you a setup where you’re maximising your traction.
You can manually adjust your on-throttle differential setup during the race via your MFD. So if you find yourself running out of tyres, or spinning your rear wheels too much, you can always lower your diff setup on the fly.
If you find yourself wearing your tyres too much around Baku, you can also lower your rear tyre pressure setup slightly. The lower your rear tyre pressures are set, the more traction and less tyre wear you will face. However, this comes at a cost of some responsiveness, so don’t go too low.
Azerbaijan suspension setup
Being a street circuit, Baku is relatively bumpy, with a few elevation changes. This, combined with the fact that you will want to attack the kerbs means you should look to run a softer than average suspension setup around Baku in F1 2021.
While running a soft suspension setup around Baku, you should try to keep your anti-roll bars more balanced. You will require stiffer anti-roll bars to allow your car to cope with the fast direction changes. Too soft here, and your car will feel too soft and sloppy.
In terms of suspension geometry, you can run pretty aggressive camber, as tyre wear on the front of the car isn’t too bad during the race. The more aggressive you go with the camber, typically the more speed you can carry through corners.
You will want to run lower amounts of toe to account for the extremely long straight. Too much toe will cause excess drag down this straight, and will build in excess tyre wear into your setup. So keep your toe balanced to low.