Dear RD members. This is something I have been working on for fun and wish to share. Feel free to have a read. Mod Edit: Chapter 1 - can be found here Chapter 2 Racing Strategy and Tactics Part 1) Tyre Strategy The option tyre is softer, grippier and therefore faster but lasts half as long as the prime tyre. You are required to use both types during the race. Simple stuff isn’t it? Let’s review the implications and choices. In-game tyre life is a factor of the race distance. EG an option tyres life in a 100% distance race is twice that of a 50% race. So it’s best to use the “1/3 2/3 rule”. Your setup and driving style will impact tyre life somewhat, but as a rule of thumb and regardless of race distance the option tyre will last about 1/3 race distance and the prime 2/3. However remember you need to deduct your qualifying laps (including out and in) laps from that total. The difference in lap times between prime and option normally varies in a range from .5 sec to 1.5 sec and will depend on set up, driving style and fuel load. Starting on Options: If you start on the option tyre the qualifying laps are a significant part of tyre life. In a sample 50% race in Istanbul Park- Turkey of 29 laps. The option will normally have a tyre life of 9-11 laps. If you do 5 laps in qualifying, then you start on tyres that will be on their way out after 5-6 race laps. Up to 38% of tyre life used in qualifying! There are tactical choices that could reduce this impact. You could warm up for a few laps and then pit for fresh options for 1-2 hot laps (3-4 total). Or wait till 5 mins to go before your hot laps. Or do a few laps on primes then 5 mins on options. Starting on Primes: Because the primes will last at least double the laps, the impact of qualifying is less than halved. The author did 7 qualifying laps and 21/29 race laps on primes in Turkey switching to fresh options with 8 laps to go. Your strategic choice on tyres will decide when you are fastest and for how long. It will also be driven largely by your outright pace. If you are fast enough on the primes to run with the leaders in the opening stint then it can sometimes work very well. Even if say 4[SUP]th[/SUP]-5[SUP]th[/SUP] on the grid if you can hold them to say 10 sec lead the options runners will pit at 1/3 distance (or less) and you will pass them while they pit. You then will have a lead of say 10 sec or so with them also on primes. At 2/3 distance you will pit, they may well pass you but you will return to the track on fresh options to fight with them on worn primes. Be aware that in a 100% race that the option runners will have twice as many laps to build a gap before pitting. Starting on primes can help if there is a chance of rain. The options runners will pit for primes at 1/3 distance. If that rain comes between 1/3 and 2/3 race distance the prime runners will only stop once (for the wets) options runners will have to pit a second time for the wets. You may consider two stopping in longer races 75-100% distance but it depends on length of pit lane, your relative pace, your improved pace on options and relative position in the race. EG If the field is very fast and you expect to be 2-3 sec per lap slower than the leaders you may want to try options-primes-options to give you a chance to compete on pace. Using options to clear the mid fielders and then fresh options to challenge for a good result in the final stint. All other things being equal the time gained with the extra laps on the options (never more than 1/3 race distance!) need to equal or exceed the time spent in the pits. Example calculations: Spa Francorchamps. Full race distance 44 laps. Pit stop total time 30 sec. Speed differential Option vs Prime =1.5 sec. Max extra laps is 44 /3 or 14.66. So 14 x 1.5 = 21 sec minus 30 sec.= Net loss 9 seconds. Montreal. Full race distance. Pit stop total time 18 sec. Speed differential 1.0 sec. Max extra laps= 70/3 or 23.33. So 24 x 1= 24 minus 18 sec =net gain 6 seconds. Eking out some extra laps on worn tyres: Set throttle map to standard or cruise, you’re less like likely to spin out than on the “fast” map on worn tyres and the softer throttle maps will increase tyre life a little. Summary of key tyre strategies [TABLE] [TR] [TD]Strategy[/TD] [TD]Requirements[/TD] [TD]Pros[/TD] [TD]Cons[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Options-Primes[/TD] [TD]None[/TD] [TD]Faster in qualifying and stint 1.[/TD] [TD]Slower in last stint.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Primes-Options[/TD] [TD]Need good pace on primes.[/TD] [TD]Jump options runners at 1/3 distance. Faster in final stint. If rain occurs between 1/3 and 2/3 distance you will save a pit stop.[/TD] [TD]Slower in qualifying Slower in stint 1.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Options-Primes Options[/TD] [TD]None[/TD] [TD]Faster in Stint 1 and 3. Retain choice to 1 stop if req’d.[/TD] [TD]Time spent in 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] stop.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Options-Options-Primes[/TD] [TD]None[/TD] [TD]Fastest in stint 1 and 2.[/TD] [TD]Time spent in 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] stop. Locked into 2 stop.[/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] Notes: Tyre life is impacted by setup, with very high spring settings, and toe in settings having the most detriment. You have to start on the tyres with which you did your fastest qualifying lap. So tyre strategy is dictated by what you do in qualifying. With a wet qualifying and dry race you can start on either dry compound and they will be 100% fresh. Most often 2/3 of the race will be run on primes. Your practice and setups should reflect this. Part 2) Qualifying Preparation: You can rehearse qualifying in GP mode to you hearts’ content. For optimum personal performance you should do qualifying practice sessions on primes, options, primes and options and wet qualifying. You can sometimes get a stunning qualifying result just because you are the only one to have practiced and saved a wet setup. For qualifying practice use the Redbull car in GP mode as the online car is based on it. As a guide for your progress in setups and qualifying practice- Legend AI pole time is most often no more than 1.5 sec or so slower than the fastest human players. Remember to have dry and wet setups stored. While other drivers are groaning about a wet qualifying and adjusting their dry setups you can simply click “load” set you fuel load and hit the track. Once in the pit in qualifying session: It should be a simple case of load the appropriate setup, adjust fuel load and hit the track. However before doing so check the weather forecast for race day. If it’s dry qualifying but 100% chance of rain for the race you might as well qualifying on the options-you won’t need to start the race on them! If there is say 25- 70% chance of rain then consider the strategic flexibility of starting on primes. Remember to adjust your fuel load if desired. The less fuel the faster you will be. Remember how long out and in laps will take in Multiplayer. There is no “flying lap” or “return to garage” option in Multiplayer you have to drive out and drive back in. Warming up tyres and brakes: The better you warm tyres and brakes the faster your hot lap will be. Weave where possible to build heat in tyres and do some extra braking. Options will be pretty good after 1 lap. Primes in my view need two warm up laps. Leave throttle map on “cruise mode” while you do this and also if you have to abandon a lap because of a mistake or blocking. It’s possible to gain an extra lap this way and you may want that fuel for a final hot lap at the end. Watch for drivers who are on hot laps whilst doing your out/in and warm up laps. Pull off the racing line after a corner and slow down, you’ll thank them for reciprocating another time. As you approach your 1[SUP]st[/SUP] hot lap switch throttle back to fast before the last corner to get the best run to start/finish line. The banker: You will push braking points, line (including kerbs), early throttle application to the limit on a 100% qualifying lap. Consider putting a banker lap in at say 97% speed just so you have something reasonable on the board in the event of your 100% commitment laps not working out. Qualifying times involve risk and return. Just say for example you can on a great (but risky) lap do a 1m:25s which will get you pole. But you also know you can put in a 1.25.8 with relative safety. P4 might require for example 1m:26.5 – 1m:27.5s depending on the standard of driver. A 97% lap might net 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] on the grid with say 1m:26s. Best have that in your back pocket when you start the attempted 100% laps. Look for enough space in front and slow to get room at the end of the warmup laps if required then go for it. The author prefers to mute his headset on qualifying laps for concentration, its personal preference, others leave sound on. Wet Qualifying: The track will frequently get faster during wet qualifying so take 7-8 laps of fuel. Depending on grip levels consider doing 1-2 laps on cruise mode, 1-2 laps on standard mode if there is enough grip then switch to fast mode doing as many laps as possible as grip improves and tyres heat up and fuel load drops. Pole position in wet qualifying often goes to the last man hot lapping! Changeable Qualifying: There seem to be two trends in-game. Either a) dry track getting worse or b)wet track getting better. For scenario 1 get out there ASAP on options. There may be time for only 1 hot lap before all grip is gone. Make sure it’s “a banker”. For scenario 2 treat as per wet qualifying but check with 5 mins to go if dry tyres will work. Normally however the wet tyre will lap at very near dry pace on a drying track in F1 2010. In wet and changeable qualifying, test grip levels with steering and braking, don’t rely on what you can see. Sometimes the grip/times possible defy the apparent heavy rain depicted graphically in-game. Abandoning a lap. If you are on a hot lap and make a big mistake or are slowed by traffic before say sector 3 and your lap will not improve on what you already have, consider backing off, selecting “cruise map” and setting yourself for the next one. Be aware however that sometimes a red (slow) sector 1 can still occur in a fast lap. So don’t back of just because you are say .150 or .250 down at the end of sector 1. You may have found more speed in 2 and 3 that will win this time back and more. Few laps are perfect and 2 great sectors will outweigh 1 that is just slightly “off”. Specific Qualifying Fuel loads for Tyre types [TABLE] [TR] [TD]Tyre Type[/TD] [TD]Fuel Load[/TD] [TD]Reason[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Option[/TD] [TD]Lightest 3-5 laps[/TD] [TD]Intended speed, plus the wear rate means need to conserve them.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Prime[/TD] [TD]Medium 5-7 laps[/TD] [TD]Longer warmup, less wear=more laps.*[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Wet[/TD] [TD]Highest 7-8 laps[/TD] [TD]Improving grip.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Inters[/TD] [TD]Not used[/TD] [TD]Useless tyre in-game. No faster than wet in damp conditions. Just use the wet or dry tyre.[/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] The primes will give you the chance to get into a nice rhythm and build your pace if that’s what you need* Part 3) The Race Proper Opening Laps: With full fuel loads and cold tyres the car will, relatively speaking, resemble a fuel tanker in terms of acceleration/braking and cornering. Especially lap one. The first goal must be to keep the car on the track. In the excitement, frenzy and perceived opportunity of the close proximity racing of lap 1 even very experienced drivers will make mistakes and run off the track. Often half of the field will have an off track excursion on lap 1. This means that if you don’t you will win places. A good first lap can net you as many as half the places above you. There is however risk as well as opportunity in this particular phenomenon as these people will rejoin the track in the strangest ways. Allow plenty of space for braking and turn-in especially after long fast straights. In the authors view a tidy first lap will win out more often than a brave one. Allow plenty of extra braking distance (25-50metres). You will smile as you drive past an apparent garage sale or lawn mowing convention on the grass. Grip levels build quickly and even after 5-7 laps the handling will have progressed significantly. For example in 50% distance you will be within 3 sec of qualifying times by lap 10 on primes. Early stages: Your objectives in the early stages will vary a bit depending on your strategy and relative pace. If you are on options you need to use them: ie get clear of slower runners and build the gap for your inevitable early pit stop. If you are on primes you may be happy to stay in touch with leaders and wait to pounce at the first pit stops. At any rate you need to get into your rhythm adapt to the track conditions and fuel load and build your pace. You will possibly start to get a feel for your race situation. Are you battling for the lead or perhaps lapping consistently with gaps in front and behind you. You may be dealing with being out of position due to poor qualifying or a first lap incident that will impact your original strategy. No matter what get, into your rhythm and build your pace. “Anything can happen and probably will” -Murray Walker. People in front can crash, lose wings, get drive-throughs, get disconnected. Middle: Be aware of what the drivers you are racing for position are doing. Have they pitted for primes at 1/3 race distance (can you attack them later)? Has someone lost a wing or had a drive through? Sometimes such things will drop someone from “up front” back into the fight with you and you need to be ready to race them for position. Just because they are “faster than you” doesn’t mean it’s not a legitimate fight for position. Only in a blue flag (lapped) situation do you need to let them through. Otherwise they have to find a way to pass you so race them! Also be ready to change your strategy. A lost wing might mean you pit a few laps earlier than planned for a tyre change, can you make them last till the end? Or if you have used both types is it a chance to grab fresh options for the run home. Closing stages: Approaching 2/3 race distance you will have an idea of gaps in front and behind you. How are your tyres and those of the drivers you are racing? If your primes are getting worn and the driver behind is pulling you in relentlessly on fresh tyres. (you on options-primes strategy and he on say primes-options) do you need to pit for fresh options to cover him? Is the driver in front slowing (worn tyres) is it time to pressure? Is the challenge from behind going to fade due to him pitting too early for fresh options? Manage your car on its tyres but remember that fuel load is falling so your fastest laps should be possible. If you have big gaps in front and behind you may want to pit for eg repairs to a wing and fresh options for a safe run home. In short 2/3 race distance is where you survey what risks and opportunities are facing you and decide what to do. A word on when to push for an overtake: You need to be aware of the overall tactical situation. IE When will the car in front/behind need to pit for tyres? When did they last pit for tyres? Are you taking risks to pass someone who is pitting in 1 lap? Is the competitor behind you on his options stint and you on primes? If so will staying in front of them defeat their strategy. In early laps if following a fast driver and yourself being closely followed by others it may pay to allow the two of you to build a gap and attack him later. If you are on your options stint and others on primes it becomes more important to get clear air to use them to build a gap. Blindly trying to pass a.s.a.p. isn’t always the optimum answer. Dynamic approaches to pit stop strategy. a) Pitting to get clear air and the undercut: If you are caught behind a battle between some closely matched drivers and you judge that it is detrimental to your/their pace you may wish to consider an early pit stop. You may re emerge in clear air on fresh tyres and be able to exceed their pace. If this works you will pass them when they pit. There are obviously small windows either side of 1/3 and 2/3 race distance where this will work without necessitating an extra stop. b) Covering the attack: in a scenario where an option-priime runner has pitted for his primes and finds himself under threat from a prime-option runner in the last (1/3) stint. He may also choose to pit for options to be in a position to defend. This is called covering. It will prevent the leader from having to defend on worn primes from an attack on fresh options. Whether you will want to respond in this way will depend again on your relative pace, pace on primes, their predicted condition in the final laps, the track and your lead. The track is a factor as some tracks such as Catalunya require consistent high speed cornering and you are vulnerable if someone is on far better tyres. By contrast the tight street circuit of Monte Carlo means overtaking is much more difficult. Part 4) Responding to Weather Anticipate: You have access to a weather forecast in-game so take note. If the chance of rain is high, take that into account with your (dry) tyre strategy. You may save a pit stop this way. There are two main scenarios in- game. Dry to wet: The high stakes gamble When running on a dry grippy track and the rain comes the visual graphic will show rain some laps (normally say 2-3) before the track loses any grip with consistent heavy rain. If it’s a slight shower, don’t panic –push on. If it’s heavy rain you will need to pit for wets. Ignore the inters in-game, the wets are as quick in damp and drying conditions and quicker in wet conditions so the inters are redundant. Be aware that when grip is lost in this scenario it is lost very dramatically and quickly. The combination of lower tyre temp and no tread create a double whammy and as Mr Brundle says (the dry tyre grip) “will fall off a cliff”. Once the game decides that grip is gone the dry tyre can be a full minute or more per lap slower. It will be like an ice rink and the transition from OK-ish to hopeless is brutally quick say 2-3 corners. Wet to Dry: This scenario is mercifully a bit more communicative. When driving in rain on the wets you will notice four obvious things; Visually the rain will get lighter, a drying line will start to appear, braking and handling will improve gradually, and lap times will start to fall. You can also monitor the water on track by looking backwards at your spray. When it starts to get less and intermittent the game is signaling a drying track. Normally your signal to switch to dry tyres will be guided by the lap times. You will get very close to dry lap times on the wets (say 2-3 secs) when it’s time to change. If the wets aren’t badly worn you can see there is less urgency about a wet-dry change. Race Dynamic: These scenarios and your choices will be influenced by the situation. EG If you are in the lead by 15 sec with 3 laps to go and on worn wets on a drying track and the racer attacking you has changed for options already you may consider staying out or depending on the gap behind him for 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] pitting for a safe 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] over a risky attempt at the win! Part 5) An Example of Race Preparation Everyone will have different time constraints and the willingness to commit large amounts of time to the game will of course vary. Some people will enjoy just grabbing an engineers’ quick setup and hitting the track for a race. Others will then look for more personal performance in the multiplayer environment. What follows is an example preparation for a league racer for one race. Practice and setup session: Starting with a familiar setup (RD?) jump into GP mode using the Redbull car in Short Race weekend. a) track familiarization. Do enough practice laps on primes to be lapping consistently within .2 sec. b) Setups. Refer to the setup section for process. Test and refine setup. This process may involve 30-50 laps or more. But there is no right number. If you are new to Monaco it may take 200 laps! Store Race and Wet setups. Some drivers will have a qualifying setup also. Qualifying practice/rehearsal. Qualifying sessions on Primes, Qualifying sessions on options, a qualifying session on wets. Understand your relative pace on primes, It may be plus .5 sec or 1.5 sec! As a benchmark it is helpful to track your gap to pole in Legend AI. In dry weather on most tracks beating pole by 1 sec plus is a good standard. Practice race. 1 Race starting on options. 1 Race starting on primes. Check durability of options, and relative pace of primes. Check total time of a pit stop. With the above process you will have learned the track, set up your car, increased you speed and determined your strategy. It is not uncommon to end this process with a lap time 3-4sec faster than when you started. The additional benefit to you of the resulting familiarity and awareness of possible scenarios is also helpful. Part 6) In Car adjustments to Wing and Throttle Map Throttle map is discussed in qualifying section. The faster map will deliver more power and higher rev limits and do it with a more aggressive delivery. Its easier to spin outs on corner exit when on the fast map and the slipperier the track the harder it is to use . In addition be aware that particularly when driving in manual gear shift some tracks (incl Valencia) will leave you with a fuel shortage if you run the full race on “Fast” map. Also fuel is not provided for off track excursions reversing etc. Be ready to switch to “Standard” map for a few laps (less than 10%) to ensure you have enough to race to the finish. There should be a non critical period to do this. Hint: Not the start or the few laps around either pit stop window or when you are attacking on options. The cruise map will conserve fuel and engine temp/life and offer softer power delivery. You guessed it! Standard is between the two of them. Summary of fuel map use. [TABLE] [TR] [TD]Map Setting[/TD] [TD]Potential situation[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Cruise[/TD] [TD]Qualifying warm up laps, In laps, max fuel saving, extreme wet, tyre saving.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Standard[/TD] [TD]Wet track, Fuel saving, tyre saving. [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Fast[/TD] [TD]Going fast![/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] Front Wing Allows you to increase front down-force and therefore grip as needed. It allows you to maximize your speed on the fastest straightest sections of track with less wing and then increase it (up position) to get better turn in when required. This facility reduces the compromise required in a setup. Many tracks have a tighter section where better turn in will help lap times and long straights where less wing will help speed. Spa is a good example where one could increase wing for sector 2 only leaving it down for the very long fast sections 1 and 3. You can also think about the impact of tyre choice, fuel load and wet weather. Possibly consider running increased wing for longer sections of certain tracks when on high fuel, primes or wet weather and a lesser part when on options, low fuel, dry track or both. In this way your “increased wing” section of the track may grow and shrink in line with your braking distances. NB You only have two moves of wing per lap, eg up once and back down and there is only two positions Up and Down. Repeated presses don’t put it up more.