7 tips to put you ahead of the pack in F1 2018

© Codemasters
Written by Jamie Stevenson
With F1 2018 just around the bend, here are some tips from the developers to get you started.
With Codemasters’ incredible sim series hitting new heights with F1 2018, players will be eager to get the edge on their opponents before hitting the starting grid. Thankfully, we spoke with game director Lee Mather to find out just how you can hit the ground running in F1 2018, from playing the press to making sure your lap is as hot as can be.

1. In career mode, build a team to fit your experience

The first thing to take into consideration [in career mode] is that every action has an outcome, be that how you handle the press interviews, how you perform on track, the rival you select, the demands you make during a contract negotiation or the direction which you take your vehicle research and development programme.
You need to make sure that you select a team which is going to give you the sort of experience that you’re looking for; not only in terms of their potential for challenging for the Championship, but also consider the requirements they have from their driver. Each team will expect a driver to perform at a certain level, but they will also be looking for a certain character type. For example a particular team may prefer someone who exhibits showmanship over sportsmanship during press interviews.
Having the sort of character which a particular team prefers will be beneficial when looking to negotiate a better contract. So pay attention. Of course, that could be at odds with how you personally want to respond to the press, so there’s always a balancing act there.

2. In career mode, budget R&D carefully and treat your teams well

The first piece of advice I’d give is: don’t jump straight in and spend your season starting budget. Do at least one practice session, and get a feel for the car. I’m not talking purely pace here, but the character of the car.
The mistake I made, was to spend money on developing front aero, as I wanted a positive front end. Upon entering the first practice session, I soon realised that the car had a loose rear end, and I’d started developing the car in a far from effective way.
It’s also important to remember that you can motivate each department within the team during press interviews, which will help produce cheaper, more reliable upgrades.
Plus, with the new potential rules changes meaning that some areas of development could be lost at the end of the season, it’s often prudent to keep a few extra resource points up your sleeve. You can also decide to end development on the current car earlier in the season and focus on the next year to give you a stronger start to the next season. Or you can choose to use resource points to adapt upgraded parts to be eligible for the following season, in the event of a rules change.

3. Keep your cool with the press and other teams

As in any pressured situation, try and keep your cool. There’s no right or wrong to the attitude you show in game, but there are definitely areas where you can positively impact upon your team, especially when it comes to motivation. Having said that, saying something a little more colourful can be a great outlet for your post race emotions, especially if it’s been an eventful race.
Departmental motivation, as well as your reputation with all of the teams, is impacted by how you deal with the media. In some cases you may find that you can easily gain some favour with a department by answering a question in a certain way. However, if a race hasn’t gone so well, it may be more challenging to sugar coat what you consider to be weaknesses of the car or team.
Incidents with other drivers are another area which can cause both your team, and other teams, to change their opinion of you and can have an impact on your reputation within the Paddock.
Of course, there’s always the option to ignore the media, or just declining to answer. Eventually, that will get you a reputation though, and it’s not always the best way to handle things.

4. Newbies should check their settings and set goals

My advice for newbies is to set the game on the easiest settings, turn on all of the assists, and do a few laps in Time Trial. Once you’re comfortable with how the game feels, consider picking your Career team. Be sure to read the team goals, and pick one which suits what you want to achieve. Do you want to win the Championship in your first season, or do you want to work on moving a midfield team to the top over multiple seasons?
It’s also a good idea to start with the AI set to a lower difficulty setting, this not only impacts on their lap times, but also in the amount of space which they will allow you, while racing.
It’s worth running with some of the more advanced features set to auto, or switched off. For example, management of the Energy Recovery System (ERS), can be set to auto, race starts can be assisted and things such as the formation lap and Safety Car can also be disabled.
Beyond the actual racing, it’s worth checking out the in game tutorials, and paying attention to the voice message you receive from the in game characters. Emma, Carl and Jeff will all offer you regular advice. In fact, you can even have Carl recommend what he considers to be the best item(s) to upgrade on your vehicle when working on R&D.

5. Players should get to know their tyres

We’ve added the internal carcass temperature of the tyre to F1 2018. The outer skin of the tyre changes temperature very quickly, based on how the player is racing, which makes it relatively easy to manage. The carcass temperature, the main bulk of the tyre, changes temperature more slowly, and is something which will really plays out in longer distance races.
I’d advise players to take part in the practice programmes relating to tyre wear and race pace. The tyre wear test has a very clear and active bar which monitors your wear. You’ll very quickly understand when you’re applying too much lock, and pushing heat in to the tyre, generating additional wear.
The same goes for when you’re causing damage under traction and under braking. For more advanced players, it’s also worth looking at the chassis weight distribution and brake bias, to really optimise their performance.

6. The new Energy Recovery System can help you master tricky circuits

Because of the real variation in circuits on the F1 calendar, how you use ERS will vary from circuit to circuit. The Energy Recovery System practice programme is excellent for teaching the player how to get the most out of the system, in particular at tricky circuits with long straights, such as Baku.
It’s an amazingly powerful tool, which can be used for both attacking and defending. Of course for players who find it a little too much to manage, they can always run with an auto mode, where the game handles the deployment.

7. For optimal performance, practice and change your car set-up

There’s no real shortcut to finding performance, it all comes down to practice, and lots of it. Even when you think you know a track inside out, you can still find improvements.
Don’t be afraid to make changes to the car set-up. Consider what type of circuit you’re racing at and whether it would be better to bias the aero package on the car in a different direction. At some tracks, a higher top speed can make up for reduced pace in the corners, or vice versa.
If you really want to be the best, it’s also a great idea to view some of the fastest players’ ghost cars, in Time Trial. You can also download their car set-ups, which will further help, or at least point you in the right direction of a set-up which will work for you.
As always though, slow in and fast out often gives the best results, and over driving a car is rarely going to be the fastest way to drive.
F1 2018 is out on PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 24.