Despite the incomplete race calendars and sudden changes within the world of F1 racing, Codemasters is determined to create new and better F1 games each year. This summer, they’re about to bring something challenging and exciting. F1 2021 pushes developed physics models and reworked damage models, which completely change the way you master the game. The game is rather evolutionary than revolutionary. Essentially, it’s a further improved version of F1 2020, so the way you plan ahead for a race is no different. Whether you’re a newcomer or an experienced F1 gamer, this F1 2021 guide to master the super realistic simulator is relevant to anyone!
More realism means more problems
The F1 titles are meant to be simulators, and with increased realism, I can ensure you it’s going to be more difficult because maneuvering isn’t easy. Pushing a +1000 horsepower machine for 2 hours without a break requires strength that only a small percentage of people can handle. So what exactly is more tricky with the latest F1 title, and how do you deal with that? First off, the track surface has been reworked for realism, especially when you hit the curb. As you hit the curb, it gives you a similar effect as if you would hit a bump, and you lose traction.
The curbs in F1 2020 ended up treating you too nicely, as you could cross some of them without the slightest effect. Obviously, the best way to avoid this problem is to go as straight as possible. Losing traction while turning isn’t the greatest combination. Therefore, be prepared to instantly recover your car from the wheel spin, or preferably, do not cross the curbs too often.
Previously, the car’s handling had some physics left out as it’s really one of the most difficult parts of creating a simulator. But F1 2021 will also calculate downforce from the floor, which gives quite a huge difference since the floor is also built for more aerodynamics. That includes data all the way from the bargeboard, as seen from the side, all the way to the diffuser, which provides aerodynamics at the tail end part. With that said, you should also expect these parts to take damage in case of contact.
As you approach a corner, it’s important to time the braking point because if you don’t, you’ll end up falling back and losing positions. But diving into a corner to overtake an opponent usually leads to tire lock. For F1 2021, not only could the front tires be locked, but also the rear if you press the brake too hard. Even though it’s not common in the sport, it’s still fully possible. If you, for some reason, want to slam the brakes and ruin your tire’s lifespan. But all that comes down to tire management. That’s all common sense. The harder you push, the shorter your lifespan.
Be extra careful with collisions
One of the major changes in the newest title is the crashing models and how that affects the vehicle. It’s a topic that’s been brought up many times by the community, especially on Reddit. We all know how the tires come off if you smash the car right into a wall. As far as I can tell, the tires are way more sensitive now as slightly tapping the wall can cause puncture, leading to extreme understeering. That’ll cost an insane amount of time because you must fight your way to the pits and change it immediately. So next time you’re going around the hairpin at Monaco, don’t exit too fast and hit that fence. You’re going to have a long way to the pits.
The new crash model also includes damage to the rear wing, so brake checking someone will make both cars end up broken; in the worst case, the one with a broken rear wing will receive an instant DNF. Previously, brake checking would only affect the person behind, as the rear wing couldn’t take damage in recent games. And with that said, a broken rear wing slows you down. At some point, if you smash the rear too hard, your wing will shatter/diffuser and you’ll automatically be disqualified from the race.
AI opponents are often nice to you when it comes to battling because they’ll usually give you space. That, however, has changed. Battling may now even occur between several AI players, but generally, they’re more aggressive than before. The difficulty bar has raised a bit to bring more intense battles. Overtaking between AI opponents hasn’t been an issue before, but it seems to be frequent now. And to help yourself from being overtaken, it all comes down to defense. It may not be the simplest task to everybody, but it’s a must.
There are several ways to defend your position. You can zigzag from line to line, which is surprisingly effective against AI. Normally, in the real world, you’d be penalised for such action. Luckily, this is just a video game. The other way to defend is to block the inner side of the corner and try to push the opponent out from the racing line, hence forcing the opponent to take a weird racing line through the corner. More fair and more professional; however, AI won’t bother with whichever method you use.
With these changes in F1 2021, you can expect that there are going to be more pitstops than usual. Therefore, depending on your experience within the F1 games, you probably have to be more careful out on the tracks. As the rules say, each car must enter the pits at least once during a race. But nothing says when you can do so.
Therefore, I’d pit as early as possible to avoid other players. Of course, it’s fun with battling, but if you’re aiming for the best result, there’s no point in trying to battle. So when you pit early, you’re obviously going to end up in first place since you’ll stay on the newest tires for most of the race. Not until the end of the race will you fall back as you’ll be on some really old tires, which is the point. It’s all about defending. Just remember that the front wing is more sensitive than the rear. Therefore, if someone touches your rear, it’s most likely only going to affect the player behind you. No matter how stupid that strategy is, it’s still something and completely legal in the F1 games.
Another strategy for victory is to drive into each corner and pray that you won’t end up disqualified. And as you cut through the field, you’ll eventually end up in a decent position. You might have some damage to the car, but as I said before, it’s all about defending. Whatever happens, keep your position. Once your tires are dead, then it’s time to pit and change your parts. Even though you’ll block everyone behind and create some traffic, it’s still a master plan, yet very awful for AI opponents behind you.
These are some general tips for defending. Usually, it comes down to practicing. For players on controller, it might be slightly more difficult considering a quick change from lock-to-lock isn’t possible.
Depending on the length of the race, I’d stick to only one pitstop per race. Doing one extra pitstop will put you in dead last position, and you’ll be struggling to cut through the fields, even though you’re on the freshest tires. Overtaking without damaging requires some sort of skill in the F1 titles. You simply can’t expect players to give you a free way to let you pass. No, they’ll try to block you or maybe even ram you. I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again: defending is much better than attacking because of how the damage model works.
What’s more iconic than a first lap incident in Multiplayer? Sadly, most races don’t end up too well after one lap and with this new damage model, only God knows how many disqualifications we’re going to see. In this case, I would purposely qualify P20 in order to avoid these lap one crashed. That’s however only a personal preference because a lap one pitstop will cost you time or cost you the entire race. Unless you’re very lucky and manage to bring out a safety car, but hopefully, you haven’t broken the rear wing since it’ll automatically kick you out of the race.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, wraps up the F1 2021 guide to master the super realistic simulator. Generally, an upgraded version of the previous title, yet more challenging than ever! Make sure you grab yourself a copy since we quickly approach the release, July 13.