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F1 2020: HUD and Terminology Guide

The F1 2020 HUD and Terminology Guide aims to be a learning tool for budding F1 drivers. Ever wondered what those wacky acronyms on your screen mean? Do you want to sound technical but are yet to grasp those concepts? Even for important things like communicating with your race engineer, this guide is essential to be able to understand how F1 works.

F1 2020: HUD and Terminology Guide Cover

Welcome to the second guide in the three-part series of mastering F1 2020. In the first guide, we went through some basic concepts and simple mechanics that are essential for your driving experience. It provides the necessary foundation required for drivers to understand how the game works as well as what are the pre-requisites needed to get stuck in. In this guide, we will discuss the various HUD elements as well as the terms you need to learn for F1 2020. In case you missed the first part, check out the F1 2020 Basic Beginners Guide and if you already have, it’s time to dive into this one!

The first and foremost thing you need to learn (ASAP) to improve your technical aspect in F1 2020 is to understand all the terms thrown around in-game. As an automotive engineer myself, it gives me immense pleasure to explain these terms to you. The top terms you need to learn are:


Telemetry refers to the raw data collected by teams with respect to the drivers, cars, track and much more. Using telemetry, drivers can understand how and where to drive on the track, how fast, how cautious etc. whereas the teams can gather track data, car behaviour and other things like pit stop strategy and tyre wear. In F1 2020, telemetry data can be accessed from the HUD for all camera modes and also the steering wheel (like real life) when in the Cockpit camera view. You can access in-depth telemetry data during practice sessions while you are in the garage through your in-game computer screen.

Energy Recovery System (ERS)

ERS, as it is popularly known, is a recovery system that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Basically, F1 cars are currently in the Hybrid Engine era and every car contains the engine and a motor system to drive the rear wheels. These two, along with a few more components such as the MGU-H (turbocharger) and MGU-K (regenerative braking system) together form the Power Unit (PU). In-game, ERS works the same way as real life. Whenever you brake on track, the battery in your car gets charged by some amount, represented as charge percentage on your telemetry on the HUD. You can then use the electric charge to get a bit of extra power through the motor.

F1® 2020 ERS Guide

You can watch the video above to understand how ERS works exactly but the summary of the system is all you need. When you drive around the track, time your brake points correctly to maximise the battery recharge. Do not use the ERS all the time as you are only allowed to charge, and deploy, a fixed amount of ERS every lap (2 Megajoules of deployment per lap for the technical folks here). This year, Codemasters have simplified the ERS system in-game and have introduced an Overtake button for ERS deployment. The best time to use your ERS/Overtake button is when you are on straights or looking to overtake a car in front or even trying to defend from a car behind you. Use the power wisely child and you will succeed.


If you drive a car, chances are you know what these terms mean. Understeer is what happens when you try turning a car but it doesn’t turn as much as you want to. Oversteer is when you turn a car and it turns more than you want to. Both of them are bad for your race performance, oversteer being worse, as you can still control an understeering car. A faster-moving car will have more understeer and a slow car will have more oversteer. Hence be prepared to steer more carefully while braking and at corners. You can get away with more steering movement at high speeds and that is how you should plan your steering angles for the race track.

Drag Reduction System (DRS)

DRS refers to controlling your rear wing in order to reduce drag on your car. For every race track, there are 1-3 dedicated zones, mostly straights, called DRS Zones. A car entering this zone can activate DRS provided they are less than 1 second behind the car in front when crossing the detection line. Luckily in F1 2020, you don’t have to worry about that as the game prompts you if you receive DRS activation. When activated, the rear wing lifts up, giving you an additional top speed of 10-20 km/h. This allows you to catch up to the car in front and even overtake if close enough. DRS has to be activated manually but is automatically shut off at the end of the zone. Be careful not to turn too hard under DRS as it may cause you to spin out due to low downforce at the rear.

You can spot the visible gap in the rear wing to indicate that a car has DRS enabled.

You can spot the visible gap in the rear wing to indicate that a car has DRS enabled.

Speaking of DRS, you can also gain an advantage on your rival without it by doing something known as Slipstreaming. If you manage to get close to a driver ahead of you but not close enough to get DRS, you can still catch up to them on the straight. This is a physics phenomenon that allows you to drive a little faster than the driver in front (due to lower drag) by driving exactly behind their car. So keep this in mind when driving behind someone!

Apex and Kerbs

I mentioned Racing Line in the previous guide but here is where Racing Line really counts. Racing Line is the imaginary, theoretical path/line a car should race on in order to maximise performance. Driving on the racing line helps a driver be faster, quicker, brake more efficiently as well as nail all the corners. Turning the Racing Line option to On in the Assists section is a huge recommendation from me (even I use it for every race) and will definitely help you improve your racing technique. Set the racing line to 3D for best results. If you follow the racing line to perfection, you will often see yourself grazing the inside of a corner right as you exit it every single time. That is what is known as “hitting the apex”.

The diagram shows the racing lines (in green and blue) that you should follow for a corner. The apex is where the racing line touches the inside track. Credit: drivingfast.net

The diagram shows the racing lines (in green and blue) that you should follow for a corner. The apex is where the racing line touches the inside track. Credit: drivingfast.net

Hitting the apex allows you to enter a corner with maximum speed and create a proper exit line, minimising any time lost. Speaking of apexes, make sure to ride those colourful kerbs on your way out. You can use the kerbs while exiting a corner to quickly accelerate out of it but beware, kerbs can be very slippery if you are too hasty. But use them correctly, and you can brush off valuable tenths of a second from your lap times.


Delta, simply put, is the time difference between you and the drivers around you. When used in for lap times, a positive delta indicates that you are slower than the fastest lap. A negative delta indicates you are quicker than the current fastest lap. While racing, a driver behind/in front of you will be showing a delta next to their name. That refers to the time gap between the two of you and can help you determine how far/close to you they are.

Negative delta means that a driver is ahead of you while a positive one indicates they're behind you.

Negative delta means that a driver is ahead of you while a positive one indicates they’re behind you.

Lap time deltas also use colours to denote the gap. A red delta means you are slower than your fastest lap time. A green delta means you are quicker than your fastest lap time. Each track in F1 2020 is split up in parts called sectors. There are 3 sectors in each track and you can utilise the parts to measure your performance. If you are setting green sectors in Sector 1 and Sector 3 but red in Sector 2, you can deduce that you need to drive better and faster in that sector.

Tyre Compounds

Until last year, there were multiple compounds that were available for every race, real-life and in-game. From this year, however, compounds have been simplified into 2 categories; Dry Tyres and Wet Tyres. Dry tyres include Soft (red band), Medium (yellow band) and Hard (white band). There are 5 different compounds here but I won’t bore you with the intricacies as you only need to learn the 3 types for the F1 2020 game. In terms of Wet tyres, we have Intermediate tyres (green band) and Full Wet tyres (blue band). If you want to learn about all the compounds, you can check out the F1 Tyres Guide by Pirelli that explains each compound.

These are the available tyre compounds in F1 2020.

These are the available tyre compounds in F1 2020.

Soft tyres are the quickest but don’t last more than 10-15 laps. They are best used during qualifying sessions and/or if you need to quickly catch up to your rivals. Medium tyres have an average pace and have a decent tyre life too. They are in the Goldilocks Zone in terms of tyre compounds. Hard tyres are the slowest (around a second slower per lap than the Softs) but last the longest. If it’s damp on the track with slight, or no, rain, you can use the Inters. If it is raining heavily, you will have to strap on some Full Wets. We’ll discuss tyres in detail in the third guide.

Heads Up Display

The HUD provides you with all the information and data required during gameplay. Known as On-Screen Display (OSD), you can find the number of laps driven and remaining, the live leaderboard of driver positions with the delta times and the map layout on the left. On the right, you can find your current lap time, your fastest lap time and your sector times. Here, you will also find any prompts from your team such as pit windows. On the bottom-right is your Telemetry HUD. It shows you your current speed, RPM, ERS battery percentage, gear number, throttle/brake position and your DRS indicator. Take some time to learn where each item is so that it’s easier to read data while racing. Another thing exactly on the top of the Telemetry HUD is your Multi-Function Display or MFD.

Take adequate time to familiarise yourself with every part of the HUD and the MFD.

Take adequate time to familiarise yourself with every part of the HUD and the MFD.

Multi-Function Display

The MFD helps you take a quick look at your car and its parts. You can check your tyre condition, damage to your car, temperatures of each part as well as plan your pit strategy. Another important feature here is the Team Radio which allows you to get live updates of specific requests. You can use your input device or your voice (if enabled) to select a command. Your Race Engineer, Jeff, will then reply to you immediately. Finally, you can rest assured that this is not the default OSD layout that you must follow. You can easily change the layout of your OSD from the settings to suit your needs!

And that concludes the second guide of our F1 2020 series. Let us know your thoughts on it and make sure you check out the first guide as well if you still haven’t. Catch you all next time with the third and final guide in the series! Happy Racing!

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