All things being equal, the only way you should be able to get ahead in an F1 2021 league race is by having driving skill and car management knowledge that supersedes the opposition. Tyres play a huge role in how your car handles and the speed you can reach in corners and straights, so it is the natural starting point for many racers. Understanding the pros and cons of different tyre management methods is essential.
F1 2022 Season - Tyre Compounds News
The F1 2022 season is set to be a hard-fought battle at the top after a track-test tussle in Barcelona. Tyre management will play a key role on the fast & twisting Bahrain track, and revised circuit in Australia. Pirelli have already published the tyre compound information on the first three races:
2022 Pirelli F1 tyre choice allocation nomination selection Photo Pirelli Edited by MAXF1-net
Due to Covid-19, Pirelli established the fixed allocation of tyres for all F1 teams in 2020, which meant drivers were unable to choose which tyre compounds they wanted - nor could they choose the quantity. Into 2021 and 2022, this remains the same at the request of the teams.
For the 2022 season, Formula 1 abolished the rule that means drivers who pass in Q3 must start the race using the tyres which were used to set their best time in Q2. With this new ruling, all drivers can choose the tyres, and not just drivers who qualified below tenth place.
In Bahrain, the first of the races in the season, Pirelli is bringing three hardest tyre compounds, C1, C2, and C3. For the second race in Saudi Arabia, Pirelli will bring three middle compounds C2, C3, and C4. For the third race in Australia, Pirelli is preparing a controversial combination of C2, C3, and C5 (softest), skipping C4 entirely. The race in Australia is taking place for the first time since 2019, and being heavily revised to a much faster layout goes some way to explain the faster configuration.
F1 2021 Tyre Management
Whilst tyre compounds are important in the game, choosing your compounds is a relatively easy task, with everyone starting with the same line-up as you.
Hards – These tyres do not provide as much grip and traction, but they last long. Typically used for "1 stop" strategies, where you are also relying on the 30 second lead you can garner from opponents pit stops.
Medium/Intermediates – A balance between hard and full wet tyres, ideal for when the track is slightly wet, but faster than full wets.
Soft/Full Wets – This compound offers full treads and only used when it is raining, or the track is extremely wet, with poor efficacy in dry conditions.
Over a race weekend, you will have access to thirteen sets of dry weather tyres (seven of the harder option, and three of the softer option), four sets of intermediate tyres, and three sets of wet tyres.
We can sum up the basics of tyre options in four different categories - tyre pressure, aerodynamics, camber and suspension.
Lower pressure in your tyres means less overheating, and slow speed corner grip, but at higher speeds the responsiveness of your steering is slackened. Conversely, higher pressure means less mechanical grip on the asphalt, higher straight line speed, but higher tyre temperatures.
The ideal setup is going to be specific to the track you're racing on, where you may need plenty of grip in tight corners, hairpins and chicanes, or you might want to reach higher speeds in the straights.
Adjusting the aerodynamics of your front and rear wing will be a mostly personal choice, and running time trials with different settings can reveal the best "feel". Adjusting these aerodynamics with also create new problems that can be solved in other settings. For example, a higher rear wing will create understeer, which can then be countered by lowering rear suspension.
Higher rear wings means tracks that have a lot of corners are easier to handle, so if you were racing at Singapore, for example, you could adjust the rear aero to suit.
Tyre longevity also comes into play here, as having low aero on the front of the car also means increased tyre wear (not much, but enough) as you'll need to turn the wheel that bit more to get movement.
Experts recommend having the rear aero higher than the front for stability, as this aids traction.
Camber & Toe
Adjusting the camber and toe changes the angle of the tyres in relation to the car, and affects the grip and tyre wear. For beginners and novices, it is recommended that the front camber be changed to -2.50, rear camber at -2.00, front toe 0.05 and rear toe 0.20 degrees. This beginner setting provides a good starting point that means you can adjust accordingly as your skill level progresses.
F1 E-Sports world champion, Jarno Opmeer (above), recommends that the front suspension be at the lowest and softest setting (1) for beginners, as well as the front anti-roll bar. This enables you to work on your tactical braking without losing control of the car, and helps you in cornering.
If you are locking the indie tyre up when braking, then a firmer rear anti-roll will help eradicate this problem, placing more load on the inside tyre. This can also be fixed by lowering the brake bias on the rear tyres.
Ride height is generally personal preference, though experts in the game recommend keeping the rear ride height at around 5-6.
Increasing The Life Of Your Tyres
Although it may seem like common sense to most F1 racers, these tips are often forgotten once the green lights appear.
When cornering, gentle and consistent braking while easing the wheel (with no sudden jerking), and then easing the throttle back on out of the apex will prolong the life of the tyres. This reduces wheel spin and the amount of force you are putting on the rubber.
Once you find the traction you want coming out of a corner, and your nose is pointing in the direction of open track, you can increase the pressure speed on the throttle.
Coasting through corners were possible (no braking and smooth turning) means you are reducing wear to the tyres and allowing them to roll naturally. Where you can take a bend or corner without acceleration or braking, you will notice a reduction in tyre wear, but also increase your overall lap times.
Practice makes perfect on any track, and if you find you are locking up your tyres on a particular corner, then you must figure out the easiest way to eradicate the issue. This is the worst offender for tyre wear, and even the professionals don't have a hard and fast answer for gamers. With trial and error, you will figure out the right time to brake before the corner is on you, and find a way to take the racing line without spinning as you exit the apex. This might be that you need to lower the suspension to increase traction.
Use A Steering Wheel
Finally, the most important aspect of the F1 series is immersion. With a steering wheel, you will find your driving becomes much more intuitive, and handling the car actually becomes easier. A steering wheel will always make customising your experience easier, and adjustments to force feedback, for example, will allow you to resist the urge to go past your steering lock.
Having precision control over your steering, and actually feeling any changes you make to your settings is the very best way to enjoy F1 2021, and get the most out of it.
You have a few options for a steering wheel, whether you are a beginner or an advanced F1 racer. Both Logitech and Thrustmaster dominate this space, with their range of realistic steering wheels and pedals.
Thrustmaster TS-XW Racer Sparco P310 Competition Mod Racing Wheel and 3 Pedal Set
When only the very best will do, and immersion is at the top of your list, the Thrustmaster TS-XW racer Sparco P310 Competition Mod is the choice of the professionals.
- Powerful brushless servomotor force feedback base
- Realistic competition wheel design
- Includes T3PA 3-pedal pedal set
- Xbox One-certified embedded software
Thrustmaster T-248 Steering Wheel for PC, PS4 and PS5
For full immersion, few can match the Thrustmaster T-248 steering wheel and pedals, packed with features for the discerning racer, and perfect for beginners as a complete "ready to race" kit.
- Officially licensed for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, and compatible with Windows PC
- 25 action buttons
- 2 large, magnetic wheel-mounted paddle shifters for super-fast gear shifts
- 1000th/sec precision pedals and 4 pressure modes in the brake
- Next-gen hybrid drive system avoids counterintuitive sensations and friction problems
- Dynamic force feedback for a custom feel to your racing
The user-controlled force feedback within the steering wheel ensures you feel the surface of the road when you're driving, and the resistance of the car's power steering as you drive.
Assignable buttons on the wheel face enables you to customise according to your gaming style, and the realistic weight & feedback of the steering wheel ensures you feel like you're in the driving seat.