There are no secrets or cheats to be faster in CodeMasters F1 2016. There only those who practice and those who don’t!
A driver who practices knows how to:
– Manage tyres to last
– Outbrake opponents into a corner entry
– Catch the late apex for speedy turn exits
– Get max speed on the straights
In this article we will discuss some of the best tips and tricks for you to practice so you can reduce your lap times and grab more podium finishes in Formula One 2016.
A good driver beats a good tune any day so first we will hit on driving techniques and then move into some other strategies for shaving seconds off your laps.
Before I get into the tips it’s important to have a frame of reference for the race settings I am using. Later in the article I will discuss assists.
My F12016 Race Settings For Simulation Racing
Now these settings of course are subject to how you drive and play the game. I tend to race on the difficulty level LEGEND as I am still working my way up to ultimate.
- AI Driver Level: Legend
- Flashbacks: On or OFF
- Parc Femme Rules: On
- Vehicle Damage Simulation: On
- Safety Car: On
- Corner Cutting Stringency: Regular
- Formation Lap: On
- Race Starts: Manual
A few notes about these settings: Keeping flashbacks set to on will allow you to learn how to make clean overtakes and smooth corners. The best way to correct your deficiencies is to continue to practice the situations were your skills are weak…so when you mess up use the flashback and practice again.
I also think its important to keep damage on simulation and corner cutting on regular so that you don’t drive like a maniac and cheat the track boundaries.
Let’s get into…
Below we will discuss a variety of topics such as tyres, braking, cornering, shifting, car setups, game settings, and more.
Choosing the Right Tyres and Managing Them Correctly
Tyre management is extremely important in F1 2016. This will be a major part of determining how fast you are or how many times you need to pit.
Here are how the tyre compounds work:
- Super Soft Compound:
– Fastest speeds, most grip, most tyre wear
– Good for slow twisty circuits and short qualifying laps
- Soft Compound:
– Fast speeds, good grip, moderate tyre wear
– Good for start of race on full fuel and “sprint” laps at the end
- Medium Compound:
– Average speed, average grip, average tyre wear
– Best on circuits with long straights, high speeds, and temperatures
- Hard Compound:
– Slowest speed, least grip, least tyre wear
– Good for tracks with fast corners or rough surfaces – slow to warm up
*I’m skipping Inters and Wets as those are situational tyre sets.
To understand how different the compounds perform it is easiest if you compare results. Here are the results of stint at Barcelona with Soft, Mediums, and Hards:
- Soft Compound: 17 laps | best time 1:32:749
- Medium Compound: 33 laps | best time 1:36:644
- Hard Compound: 35 laps | best time 1:37:229
You can see how above how the durability and performance differs per compound. Now I am not the best or most consistent driver, but you can see what my results illustrate for lap times and tyre degradation.
Pro Tip: It is your job to strike a balance between performance and tyre management. Every aggressive move you make effects tyre wear, so when you make a move…make it count! .
For the most part listen to your race engineer. He will make suggestions based on how you drive. If he is telling you to change tyres, see if you can find an opportunity when the safety car is out and say “Box this lap”. Hit the pits and get the change…your goal is to get the most out of your tyres by managing their wear throughout the race.
The below tips apply to all of the tyre compounds.
Pro Tips to Reduce Tyre Wear in Formula 1 2016:
- Don’t lock up the brakes it causes flat spots on the tyres and heavy wear
- Don’t over speed through corners, it causes uneven tyre wear
- Avoid dirt and gravel off the track
- Ease onto the throttle on corner exits, avoid tyre spin
- You can clip the rumble strips, but don’t catch the inside of them
- Late heavy braking puts more wear on the tyre
- Aim to keep all 4 tyres on the ground at all times
- Intently listen to your tyres and react accordingly
- Don’t weave in and out unnecessarily
With good tyre management strategy you can keep your car on the track longer, maintain top speeds, and brake efficiently through your corners. So with that being said, let’s talk braking and then move into corners.
Braking Techniques for Racing and How to Apply Them
There are a few braking techniques that you need to consider for quick laps in F12016. A good driver develops a level of proficiency of all of these and applies the correct technique to the situation at hand. Before I get into the techniques…lets just touch on the 3 phases of braking.
Braking Phase 1: When you first apply the brake you want to be fast on the pedal, but not instantly applying max force. You want to apply as much force as possible without crossing the threshold of locking up.
When done correctly, the front end of the car will settle in and you will feel the micro-vibrations in your racing wheel or controller…these vibrations are your feedback to determine how your front tires are handling the pressure.
Braking Phase 2: To make the car stop or slow down you must interpret the cars reaction to the brake pressure you applied. Here you will ease up or apply more pressure based on the vibrations. Example if you feel the car losing the back end, ease up on the brake.
Braking Phase 3: This occurs at the end of the braking zone when the car has slowed down to a comfortable cornering speed. You gradually release pressure off the brake, so you transition from max brake pressure smoothly down to zero brake pressure, which will increase your available traction.
Pro Tip: Releasing the brake fast will reduce grip and traction, which is the last thing you want to do on a corner turn in.
Braking is Over: Feather the throttle or ease it down through the corner.
Pro Tip: Find landmarks on or off the track that will indicate to you when to brake. memorizing these markers will help you to be consistent with your braking distances.
Pro Tip: The less time you spend braking the faster you will be.
Now that we hit on the breaking basics…here are the techniques you should practice.
This technique is also known as straight-line braking and is the best technique to learn for newbie sim racers. Braking in a straight line gets your car under control before the turn in.
The key to threshold braking is to get as close as you can to locking up the brakes (or engaging ABS if you have assists on) while keeping your front tyres straight. You want to find the ideal point in your brake pedal between enough pressure and lock up which will allow you to brake late and maintain efficiency.
To find the sweet spot in your brakes you need to feel for the micro-vibrations in your controller or steering wheel. You have to practice to know exactly what the lock up feel like and learn to stop your brake pressure just before that point. Threshold braking is super effective in situations where there are long straights with hair pins at the ends of them.
Pro Tip: If you feel the car starting to lock the brakes, gently apply less pressure, but keep enough pressure on to stay within your braking threshold.
This technique can go hand in hand with threshold braking. It is a bit more advanced, but it allows you to steer while you apply brake pressure. It’s good for giving you time to steer around a collision while slowing the car down.
Cadence braking is done by pumping the brake pedal repeatedly which will cause the wheels to lock and unlock. Doing this allows you to do a bit of steering while simultaneously slowing down the car. It isn’t as efficient as threshold braking and if you do it in a straight line you actually increasing your braking distances which is bad.
Pro Tip: Cadence braking also works well in emergency braking situations or last second turn in corrections.
Pro Tip: Cadence braking is best in low grip situations like wet tarmac.
This technique allows you to rotate the back end of the into a corner. Unlike the threshold and cadence techniques, trail braking works well past the normal braking point, as close as to the corner entry as possible and when done correctly can provide a fast efficient corner turn in.
To trail brake, you need to apply the brake as you normally would in a straight line except here you only want about 80% of the threshold. Then you steer the car into the turn in while applying the remaining 20% of the brake threshold.
This technique is hard to master, because it is requires you to brake late and aggressively. It’s effective because if allows you to carry your momentum and high speed into the corner. By flying into the corner and braking late you shift the weight of the car to the front increasing the traction, decreasing rear grip. You will get a bit of oversteer when you turn in, but it will also aid you by making you steer less on entry and exit of the corner.
Pro Tip: If you are braking way to late trying to trail brake you will have to much slip angle and cause the rear tyres to slide. This will reduce your lap times by tenths of a second and create excessive wear on your tyres.
Mistakes with trail braking will take you right of the track or cause accidents. This technique requires practice, a good feel for the car, and maximum familiarity with braking zones on a track.
Left Foot Braking
This is literally what it is. If you use a wheel and pedal set for F1 2016 then you are using your left foot to brake. If you are using a controller then you are actually already left foot braking because you use two hands.
Using your left foot to brake has a few advantages, but takes a little while to get used to. In comes in handy if you’re approaching a corner much too fast, you just apply a “touch”of brake with your left foot (key word is touch, don’t jam on the brake) while maintaining the throttle with your right foot. This keeps the car under control and keeps your momentum for faster turn exit speed. Essentially what you are doing is controlling the weight transfer of the car between the front and rear tyres.
Using the left foot braking technique described above is particularly effective in rally games like DiRT Rally with FWD cars, but I have found it handy in F1 2016 for adding stability when I have hit the corner entry with too much speed. It’s worth noting though you shouldn’t abuse this or apply the brake to hard because it causes your rear end to slide which results in tyre wear.
The other advantage of left foot braking which is very applicable to Formula One is that you decrease the time you spend transforming your right foot from the throttle to the brake pedal.
Pro Tip: Done correctly left foot braking can get you from understeer to neutralsteer to oversteer in the least amount of time possible.
If you Use a Pedal Set, Add a Load Cell Brake to Reduce Lock Up
If you race with a sim racing setup, a load cell brake will reduce your braking distances and help prevent brake lock up which is pretty sensitive in F1 2016. A load cell brake measures the amount of pressure you apply to the pedal and translates it into stopping power. A standard pedal set like the Thrustmaster T3PA’s or the pedals on the Logitech G920 or G29 have potentiometers which means it applies more brake the further you push the pedal.
Corner Entry, Apexes, and Corner Exits…The Key To Fast Laps
Racers aren’t won in the corners, but they are often lost. Cornering requires lots of braking and throttle discipline, which most people just don’t have because it requires patience.
Every corner has 3 parts: Entry, apex, and exit.
Your corner approach should be a straight line wide approach still on the accelerator prior to the corner. Then followed by braking and gear changing, the corner turn in, and neutral throttle or trial braking prior to the apex.
The apex is the mid point around the corner. Below is a standard turn in for a hard right hander that catches the mid apex. The mid apex allows you to carry the highest amount of average speed into a turn.
You may be surprised, but carrying the highest avg speed through the turn is actually not the fastest way around a corner…
Late Apex = Fast Corners
Using the same approach as above (wide with all your braking and gear changes done prior to turn in), you turn in a little bit later which will allow you to catch the late apex, which occurs just after the mid point of the corner.
This will get you better exit speed because it allows you to straighten your wheel faster and apply heavier throttle.
Pro Tip: The more time you spend with your tyres pointed straight and your throttle on the floor the faster your lap time will be. The Late Apex allows you to do that!
Early Apex = Overtaking
The early apex, which occurs just before the mid point of the corner also can has it’s merits, it’s a good overtaking move pre-apex.
The diagram below illustrates the difference between a late apex and the early apex as it applies to a hairpin turn.
Notice with early apex (shown above on the right) you end up wide on your turn exit…that is often effective to block the driver you have just over taken. Also note how much sooner you get on the throttle in the late apex diagram.
When to Use Each Apex Technique
Use the Mid Apex When Carrying Speed Into The Corner
If you have a lot of speed coming into the corner, you need a route that minimizes the corner radius which reduces cornering force and provides some grip for maintaining your speed. The mid apex is normally the traditional racing line. In this instance you would look to clip the rumble strip on the inside of the turn at exactly the halfway point.
Early Apex is Great If You Are Inside of The Racing Line
If you are late braking or are trying to outbrake someone on the inside line you want to make the early apex of the corner as straight as possible. This will help you apply the brakes without much steering input (threshold braking) and lower the risk of losing stability.
The downside to the early apex is that you come into the corner fast, but have the slowest exit speed. If you have overtaken someone float your car towards the outside of the track and block the driver.
Pro Tip: The early apex is ideal when entering a corner where the following straight is shorter than the straight before the next corner. It also effective if you are trying to outbrake another driver from the inside line.
Late Apex Maximizes Corner Exit Speed
Your goal of almost any corner is a high exit speed. You use the late apex to increase your corner radius by taking a line that provides the earliest possibility of getting on the throttle. To nail the late apex you have to get your wheels straight on the exit as early as you can. Is easier to execute with a slightly lower turn entry speed.
This is where the term slow in and fast out really applies. By slowing down early and catching the late apex you are increasing your chance at achieving maximum speed on the following straight.
Pro Tip: The late apex is the fastest way through a corner.
Now that we have hit the turn in and the apex, lets touch on the exit. A good turn exit uses all of the track, allows you to straighten your wheels prior to applying full throttle, and then eases down on the throttle only reaching maximum pedal compression when the car is under control.
Pro Tip: If you are losing the car in the corner exit, you have applied too much throttle too fast. Ease back on the accelerator.
Not all corners are built equal…This leads us to which corner on the race track is the most crucial one to nail in F1 2016.
The Most Important Corner is the One Prior to a Straight
In the Formula One 2016 game there are lots of tracks and lots of corners. While they all seem like they will significantly affect your lap times there is one corner type will kill your hot laps more than any other of you mess it up; the corner before a long straight.
If you are in a series of corners and you botch the first one it is not that hard to recover, you can simply brake and get back on the racing line.If you botch the corner before a long straight or take an early apex approach you risk a slow corner exit which doesn’t allow you to achieve maximum speed down the long straight-away.
Let’s look at Catalunya for example:
The two most important turns to nail are turn 9 and turn 16. Why? Look how long the straight-aways are, plus they are DRS zones. Your goal is to be on the throttle as fast as possible on turn exit so you can achieve top speed on the straight. The more times you hit your top speeds on the straights, the faster your laps will be.
Pro Tip: On corners before long straight aways try to catch the late apex for the best exit speed.
Pro Tip: Avoid overtaking on these corners, its too much risk of bumping and/or ruining your line which will slow you down on the straight. If you catch the late apex correctly you increase the chance of passing your opponent on the straight.
We have addressed tyres, braking, and cornering and next up is making sure you take full advantage of the straights.
Getting to Max Speed on the Straight-Aways
A great straight away starts with a great turn exit that uses all of the track, four tyres gripping the pavement, front wheels pointed straight, and easing down on the throttle steadily. Hitting max speed on the straights will have a huge effect on your lap times.
Pro Tip: Once you are on a straight away the less you do with the steering inputs the faster your car will go.
Pro Tip: Long straights are the ideal time to talk to your pit crew and make routine car adjustments. If your race engineer is yapping at you through a corner…tell him to “shut up”!
One of the keys to ensuring you hit max speed is to be in the ideal gear on corner exits which means you need to learn how to shift.
If You Want Better Lap Times You Must Use Manual Gearing
Manual gearing feels daunting if you have always been playing on automatic. By using the manual gearbox you can shave 3-4 seconds per lap of your time.
When you use automatic the game shifts for you, which creates two problems: First it shifts on a delay which loses you time and second it doesn’t always downshift into an ideal gear through corners which can cause to much speed and loss of grip.
Manual gearing puts you in control to not only select the ideal gear, but you can short shift in order to increase grip into a turn or reduce wheel spin on turn exit.
Pro Tip: On tight turns stay in the powerband as long as you can before your last down shift into a corner. This will help the car stay stable on the turn in. You want your last shift to be right before the apex.
Pro Tip: On tight corner exits when you are getting back on the throttle its ok to upshift a gear quickly to help reduce wheel spin and get your car under control.
Pro Tip: Always go into your corners with a plan for which gear you need to be in before the apex and which gear you need to come out in.
How To Setup Your Formula One Car in the Game
One area that I don’t have a lot of experience in is setting up cars. I found the five setup’s CodeMaster’s offers to be pretty good and should satisfy the average racer…with the “Balanced” setup being the most practical.
However to squeeze more out of your laps, then you have to squeeze more out of your car…to do that you will have to customize your setup.
I found the video tutorial below by TRL Limitless to be extremely insightful.
In the video above he teaches you what all of the set up parameters do.
If you don’t want to learn and just want some numbers to plug in (trust me I get it), you can also checkout some of his setup videos. These videos show you his exact setups for each track and the optimum time he achieved on the leaderboards.
Here are a few formula 1 car setups for specific tracks that I found helpful:
- Hungary Hotlap + Setup (1:19.392)
- Austria Hotlap + Setup (1:06.951)
- Baku Hotlap + Setup (1:40.210)
- Silverstone Hotlap + Setup (1:29.800)
- China Hotlap + Setup (1:33.887)
- Click Here for more setups
TRL Limitless is a great follow on Youtube and recommend you subscribe to his channel.
Understating How to Launch at the Start of a Race
A great lap time starts with a great launch. Getting off the line quickly can make or brake your position in the first critical turn.
To time the start you need to hold in the clutch (upshift button), apply the right amount of throttle, and release the clutch at the exact time that the 5 red starting lights disappear. For Xbox One you hold in the “A” button or PS4 the “X” button, while you simultaneously apply the right trigger to raise your RPM’s.
The key for each car is to find the optimal RPM range for the perfect launch.
Here is how your launch will be effected by the RPM’s:
- RPM’s too low: To much grip with no power to push the car, slow start
- RPM’s perfect: Smooth consistent fast launch
- RPM’s too high: To much power causes wheel spin, slow start
- RPM’s MAX: Wheel spin and back end shimmey, slow start
The RPM’S not only varies from car to car, but also can be affected by your cars parts. In addition if you have the traction control assist ON it will slow your cars acceleration off the line even if you nail the perfect balance between rpm’s and releasing the clutch.
Pro Tip: It’s faster to air on the side of high RPM’s if you can manage to control your car through excess wheel spin. That doesn’t mean go max rpm, but slightly over optimized is better than under and having the car bog down.
Timing the Starting Lights
The 5 starting lights take a little bit of practice on each track to adjust to.The moment the 5 lights disappear you have about a half a second to release the clutch for a perfect start. To soon and you will get a pre-race penalty and too late will result in a delay off the line.
Pro Tip: You can turn off manual starts pre-race if you need to, but it’s a slower launch. You can also do manual starts even if you are using automatic gearing…after launch you just won’t need to worry about upshifting.
In Game Assists Can Slow You Down
There is no shame in racing with assists if thats how you enjoy the game, but if your goal is to win more races then you need to start minimizing your reliance on assits.
To change your assists navigate to Preferences > Assists. Here are the assists available…
Here is how I suggest you set your assists to achieve the fastest possible lap times.
Braking Assist: OFF
Braking assist allows the game to apply the brakes for you. This will slow you down and limit your ability to apply the throttle. Keep this setting OFF.
Anti-Lock Brakes: OFF
Anti-lock brakes slow you down because they increase your braking distances and limit your ability to use late braking on your corner entrance. Sure it helps prevent your brakes from locking, but it comes at the cost of lap time.
Pro Tip: If you are new to F1 2016 and are locking your brakes up a lot don’t turn this setting ON. Learn to start your braking earlier and being more gradual on your brake pedal compression. ABS doesn’t have a lot of bang for the buck…you can still lock the brakes anyway.
Traction Control: OFF
Traction Control System (TCS) is activated when throttle input and engine torque are mismatched to road surface conditions resulting in brake force being applied to one or more wheels. Leaving this setting ON will slow your car down an you will lose tenths of seconds per lap, but it will help your car behave more consistently.
Pro Tip: If you struggle with TCS OFF, lower the AI difficulty level and practice. When you learn to drive without it, you will be much faster.
Dynamic Racing Line: OFF
This setting is up to you. If you are new to these tracks and need to learn them then at a minimum you should set this to CORNERS ONLY. Ideally though you want to work towards racing line OFF. Practicing though with it on will help you gain consistency.
Pro Tip: Don’t confuse the racing line to mean the fastest line. CodeMasters gives you the basic racing line, not the fastest.
Manual is a must for faster lap times. It allows you to determine when you up shift or downshift. The advantage is that you can stay in the power band for longer and use shifting to increase grip on turn in’s.
Pro Tip: If you are new to manual shifting set this to MANUAL WITH SUGGESTED GEAR. This will help you learn when and where to shift. If you feel like you are shifting to much keep in mind it isn’t uncommon to shift gears more than 60 times per laps on some tracks.
Pit Assist: OFF
Pit assist automatically manages your car when you enter pit lane. Keep this OFF to reduce your time in pit lane.
Pro Tip: Fast manual pit stops start with braking as late as possible to reduce the amount of time you lose in the pits. You have to strike a balance between braking late and speeding to avoid penalties. Done correctly this will save time.
Other Resources for CodeMasters F1 2016 Game
There are handful of other resources that can help you become a better sim racer and/or find other tips, tricks, and car racing setups for F1-2016.
Ross Bentley’s Ultimate Speed Secrets
This is a book one of my blog readers put me onto and it has been a valuable asset to making me a better sim racer. I know it may seem silly to buy a book to help you with a game, but if you are serious about improving your lap times its a great purchase for about $20 at Amazon.
The book has a lot of great general racing tips and tricks that can be applied to almost any racing game. There are also several other books Ross Bentley books in the series that are worth taking a look at.
Websites, Blogs, and Forums
- Virtual Throttle
- CodeMasters F1 Mega Thread on Reddit
- CodeMasters Blog
- Codemasters Formula One Forum
Related Products at Amazon
Now Go Win Your Races
I hope you found the F1 racing advice helpful and would consider sharing this on social media. Writing these types articles always creates alot of debate as people have their own opinions about the best techniques. Feel free to leave any thoughts or insightful tips in the comments below as the F10216 community can benefit from your input.