Advanced Formula one Set up Guide


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Constant radius Example: Circuit de Catalunya, Spain Compsa

A constant radius corner is one that has a quick gentle turn-in, a long consistent apex, and a gentle

exit. Providing the track is fairly level, setup for the corner can be tackled in a fairly routine manor. As in

all corners, how vital it is towards the overall laptime and how many like corners are on the circuit should

be analyzed before determining how much the corner should effect the car setup.

A constant radius corner is actually quite simple. Providing youve roughed in your spring settings

for fairly neutral handling, then this is all about aerodynamic downforce and anti-roll bars. The transition

for turn-in to steady state cornering is fast. The car is on the bars quick and stays there for quite awhile.

Typically, a well balanced car will automatically have reliable handling traits through most constant radius

corners and one can determine quite quickly if a change in downforce will help. For this reason, constant

radius corners are good corners to focus on early in the initial setup of the car adjustments including springs

and anti-roll bars.

If one is experiencing trouble being competitive, and the corner is high speed, then front wing

adjustments would be first on the list, with anti-roll bars and weight distribution a close second. If the

corner is medium speed, that order might flip-flop.

But I wouldnt spend much time on damper settings here, unless youre having turn-in imbalances

everywhere else on the circuit specifically medium speed corners. Also, any adjustments to the dampers

should be performed with thought towards what compromises in other corners may occur, particularly if

the circuit has one or more decreasing radius corners elsewhere.


Increasing radius Example: Circuit de Catalunya, Spain La Caixa

An increasing radius corner is one that features a longer corner exit than corner entry, and is

usually accompanied by a small corner apex. In an increasing radius corner, the idea is to brake late and

turn in sharp, advancing the corner apex early, then quickly and progressively initiating throttle for

maximum exit speed. Because the corner exit line usually has no reference points, it becomes difficult to


Due to the extended corner exit, if one cannot accelerate properly this becomes a section where a

relatively large amount of time may be lost. Therefore traction under acceleration is important to minimize

time in this type of corner. This is crucially important if the corner exits onto a primary fast straight.

A rookie driver might want to run the differential lock setting at a lower value to help control

wheel spin. But a more experienced driver might prefer to control the rear himself using the throttle to

induce oversteer. This however requires a very fine tuned neutral balance.

To start with, youll want a softer rear setup for more traction under acceleration. Choose front

and rear spring rates to accommodate the overall circuit handling requirements, then fine tune with damper

adjustments. As usual, slow damper settings are useful for adjustments to the spring response during

weight transfer. Here youll want to run softer slow damper settings. While softening the rear, be aware of

the packers vs. ride height. For the car to hit the packers (especially the outside rear) is detrimental towards

the goal as it will instantly overload the tire with weight.

Typically, the anti-roll bars and aerodynamics are not good things to adjust specifically for this

type of corner, unless youre experiencing imbalances elsewhere.


Decreasing radius Example: Magny-Cours, France 180 Degrees

A decreasing radius corner is indeed one of the most difficult corners to setup for. As you can see

from the above picture, your braking zone follows an arc leading to the late apex. Its imperative that the

car be able to brake deep and turn in simultaneously. A well-honed trail-braking technique will defiantly

aid in making the pass here.

The basic setup principles for this type of corner are such that you want the car to have good turnin,

but more importantly, a stable rear. Because the transition from turn-in to steady state cornering is so

long anti-roll bars are less critical. Thats not to say dont adjust them, its just the bars dont have a

significant impact except from about 25 yards before and through the first half of that inside rumble strip,

right at the apex. Plus, if you have high-speed constant radius turns elsewhere, and the cars pretty well

balanced there, Id leave the bars alone for now.

Softening the rear springs, helping the rears not to unload as much weight, is a great starting point

if youre having trouble being competitive here (and providing this is a critical point on the circuit). But

most importantly, dampers are the keys to unlock the cars maximum potential under braking and turn-in.

One must control to weight transfer. More specifically, the rear dampers slow rebound. Soften them to

help maintain weight at the rear for as long as possible. The second the rear goes light enough to get loose,

you better stop turning and brake straight and hard. An alternative might be to go to the front and increase

the front damper slow bump values. But unless youre either having problems at the front elsewhere, or

have run the rear setting close to maximum (with room to spare at the front) then Id focus on the rear.

You could also run your brake bias forward more. But if youre not having problems with

oversteer under braking elsewhere, then I say leave it and tackle those dampers.

Differential lock values of 50% or higher can help here as well. Youre already turning when you

have to get off the throttle, so you defiantly want that torque under control. But be careful of oversteer

while reapplying the power. As stated earlier, the differential lock setting is very dependent on your

personal driving style.


Fast esse Example: Silverstone, Great Britain Maggots & Becketts

A fast esse is typically a combination of two or more corners. At these speeds, aerodynamic

balance is a key factor. But probably equally important is the correct line which allows the fastest

cumulative sector time. Missing the best line during a phase by just a few feet can cost massive time loss

as it disrupts the flow for the next phase, or worse yet, the entire following corner. For this reason, frontend

steering response is crucial. One also must have faith in ones setup as the speeds traveled here repay

mistakes with big spins.

Like mentioned above, aerodynamics has a big influence through these types of corners. After

setting gear ratios and a rear wing angle based on the circuits top speed, the front wing angle can be

roughed in through fast esses to balance the car.

Basic spring settings can be put to the test through these high-speed direction changes. Stiff font

springs give the car the much-needed quick steering response. Too high a spring rate will adversely affect

the desired level of grip though and must be countered by additional front wing or a softer anti-roll bar.

Special attention should be paid to the tire temperatures as overheating can occur from these changes.

Softer rear springs enable the rear tires to bite and keep the power transmitting to the track. Use the damper

slow settings to control weight loading and unloading into the tires during changes of directions. Also, this

is a big anti-roll bar fine-tuning section as the car is changing directions and loading the bars in both

directions. Once the anti-roll bar settings are roughed in here, they should require only minor adjustments

for other sections around the circuit. The exception would be when adjusting the anti-roll bars to

compensate for another adjustment such as mentioned above.

Differential lock settings can prove useful here, especially if one is using engine braking by

coming off the throttle to slow the car to setup the following corner.


Medium esse Example: Silverstone, Great Britain Abbey

Like a fast esse, the medium-speed esse is typically a combination of two or more corners. Here,

however the springs and dampers are more important than aerodynamics, mainly due to the fact that the car

is either increasing or decreasing speed as it traverses these corners.

If the car has fairly well balanced characteristics through faster corners, then focus should

certainly be placed on the springs and dampers slow settings. Medium speed corners are really where you

can start to fine-tune the springs and dampers. The latter probably more so. Youll want to focus on sharp

turn-in characteristics with front springs, dampers and anti-roll bar adjustments. Go as stiff as possible

with the front spring settings without upsetting the overall balance of the car. Try to balance out any

induced understeer by increasing front wing angle or choose a smaller front anti-roll bar until a more

neutral balance is obtained. Be careful though as these types of adjustments can quickly result in above

optimum tire temperatures by overloading the front tires with weight. From here, soften the damper slow

response to dial in the amount of front grip desired.

Also a more aggressive driver might use the kerbs here, so damper fast settings become a factor as

well. Damper fast settings aid in the cars ability to react to bumps, so if loosing grip while riding kerbs you

might try lowering the fast bump settings. Be careful though of riding kerbs while the car is experiencing

big swings of weight transfer, such as the transition from Abbeys left-right.


Chicane Example: Nurburgring, Germany, Veedol S

Chicanes are essentially slow esses, so all of the medium esse characteristics apply here. Also,

because the phases happen in rapid succession (do to the overall smaller size of the chicane features), car

imbalances tend to be magnified at the point of weight shift during the change in direction. Also, the

overall slower speeds mean aerodynamics has less of a factor in car balance and mechanical grip has a

great deal of influence. Do to the tight nature of most chicanes, riding over kerbs is an acceptable risk.

Many times, a chicane will denote the slowest corner on a particular circuit. This means it is many

times preceded by a heavy braking zone, making it a great point to fine-tuning the braking bias. As this

makes the chicane a prime overtaking location, focus should be given to car setup through the preceding

corner as to allow the most efficient exit. This will, in turn give the car maximum speed on the ensuing

straight leading to the chicane, making overtaking that much easier.

This also means this is the corner to help select your lowest racing gear. Quite often it is the case

that second gear it the lowest selected gear once the race has gotten under way. If this is the case, second

gear becomes the lowest racing gear. If this is the case, then second gear can be adjusted to allow the best

possible acceleration while maintaining stability when exiting the chicane. Otherwise, first gear should be

a compromise of chicane exit stability and standing start efficiency.


Hairpin Example: Magny-Cours, France Adelaide

Hairpin corners stress the cars braking capabilities to their maximum. Typically, the car is being

coaxed into slowing from top speed down to anywhere from 40mph to 60mph. Sharp front-end grip is

essential to allow a driver for be competitive here, particularly when passing. The above picture shows the

Arrows A23 taking a conservative line through the Adelaide hairpin. The turn-in comes early and the short

apex is at the middle of the inside kerb. While qualifying the line will vary. The braking will be kept to as

late as possible (allowing the car to travel at top speed a few hundredths on a second longer), followed by a

late turn-in. This will shift the apex back later in the turn (the skid marks represent a good fast line). By

moving the apex later, the radius of the exit is lessened, allowing power to be applied sooner and more

importantly, at a more aggressive rate. Again, I point to the books from Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost to

learn more on these principles.

Like chicanes, hairpins are great places to set the braking bias during early session laps because

the most aggressive braking zones on the circuit typically precede them.

I typically dont concern myself with tuning a car around a hairpin beyond the basic roughing-in

of the chassis balance (wings, springs, anti-roll bars, and ride height). I find if I focus on other medium and

high-speed corners, the hairpin tends to fall into place. One thing I do focus on is my gear ratio for this

turn. It tends to dictate my lowest racing gear and therefore the gear should be chosen to allow the most

stable acceleration out of the hairpin possible.

The hairpin is also a prime passing zone for most circuits. This makes the prior corner extremely

critical as far as the setup is concerned. Remember that the pass that happens here was really executed

through the previous corner, allowing the car to gain an advantage over a rival heading into this turn.


Double Apex Example: Sepang Circuit, Malaysia Turns 7 & 8

From time to time, two successive corners will line up in such a way that it enables a driver to

attack them both as a single corner. This means the first corners exit (phase 3) and the second corners

entry (phase 1) become essentially both corners phase 2, or the overall corner apex. In this instance, the 2nd

phase is rather large and may contain some throttle adjustments. The car must be set to allow mid-corner

throttle adjustments to not effect the car in a negative way.

Because of these things, these types of corners have the same characteristics of the constant radius

corner. Basic balance is achieved with springs and anti-roll bars, assuming aerodynamic balance has been


A more stable throttle behavior can be fine-tuned by differential lock adjustments. If the double

apex requires a slight throttle lift at the apex, and this in turn cases too much oversteer, then a higher

differential lock setting is required.


Gathering circuit information

The first thing we need to do is gather some information regarding the circuit were about to run

on. In this case, its Silverstone in Great Britain. In a minute, Im going to look for the combinations of

straights and corners, maximum and minimum expected speeds, and any key corners which will

influence the setup. But for now lets identify all the corner types.

Copse is a high-speed, subtle decreasing radius corner. Next, Maggots and Becketts form a highspeed

esse, the latter of which has a decreasing radius corner connecting to Chapel, which empties onto

Hanger Straight. Stowe is another decreasing radius right-hand corner that bends back to the left on exit.

Vale is made up of a slow constant radius, 90-degree left hander, followed by Club, a long increasing

radius right hander. Abbey is a medium speed esse that opens up on exit. Bridge and Priory are both

constant radius corners. Brooklands is a subtle increasing radius followed by the double apex Luffield

and the flat-out, constant radius kink, Woodcote.

Now lets identify those key features of the track. Looking at the above track map, we can see that

there are two big straights. Thats the main start/finish straight and Hanger straight connecting Chapel to

Stowe. As a result of identifying these big straights, we can see top speed is expected to be 200-plus MPH.

Key corners would be Copse, the Maggots/Becketts/Chapel complex, and Stowe, the majority of

which are medium to high-speed corners (three of which are decreasing radius). These denoted features

account for 2/3rds of the circuit, and while not Monza-like fast, would tell me to start by setting the car up

for medium to high speed cornering with a focus on aerodynamics and springs. Then fine-tune the

mechanical grip for the slower parts like Club and the Brooklands/Luffeild complex. This is, if for no

other reason, giving us a place to start and an idea of the direction we think were going to go in. The main

concept here is one should always analyze the circuit and visualize the plan of attack. That way, youre not

taking random stabs at things hoping to stumble across an acceptable setup. Racing, though is a very

dynamic sport, and one should always be ready to try something new should the initial direction not pay

dividends. The ultimate deciding factor is, as always the stopwatch. A faster laptime is a faster laptime

regardless of how you arrive at it.

Just for the record, your highest lateral G loading should be around 3.5G in Copse and Bridge.


Gathering car setup information

Its very important to document your setup changes as you go. There are various methods and

here is some detail about the one I use. I use a log, which Ive included with this guide as a separate

document titled F1 2002 Setup Log, that allows me to document and track the changes and their resulting

lap times. This adds great insight as I look at telemetry, since I have a written reference from that stint and

the changes put on the car.

The method I use is three sets of adjustments per saved setup. I use a logical saved name: EA A23

T1-01 where EA are my initials, A23 is the chassis used, T is for test, and 1-01 is the identifier (1

being the session, -01 being the revision during the session). For each saved setup, the revision will

increase by one. On the Setup Log, the line Setup Name (base) is the setup that we began with. If we

start with a pre-existing EA Sports F1 2002 setup, that might be Great Britain or Grip. Additionally, if

this becomes a race setup, Ill add identifiers for tires and strategy while maintaining the same revision

number from the test setup. So a saved setup named EA A23 RH2-16 S1 would indicate the Arrows (A23)

race setup (R) with hard compound tires (H) derived from testing session 2 - setup revision 16, for a 1-stop

strategy. EA A23 RS2-16 S2 would be identical with the exception of soft tires and a 2-stop fuel strategy.

This is my method. You may use any other, but it definitely becomes an advantage to choose a logical

system that allows quick identification. Also, as you turn faster laps during testing, the setup that produced

the fastest lap should always be loaded as your Favorite Setup so as you begin any additional sessions,

that setup will already be loaded onto your car. In the end, you can simply copy your final setup and

rename it Race, Qualify, or anything else you chose to simplify the process of finding the final


As we get into our setup session, please keep in mind that Im logging all the changes that I make.

To include all the minute changes made to the car into this section of the guide is simply not possible.

Therefore, what is included is an overview of the direction taken. The F1 2002 Setup Log is included for

you convenience when making your own setup changes.

Establishing a setup Aerodynamics & Ride Height

The first thing you should do is load your base, or starting setup and run about 20 laps to

familiarize yourself with the circuit and cars characteristics. At Silverstone, I begin with the standard

Great Britain setup on the Arrows A23. During this run I set a fast lap of 1m21s509. Mind you, during

this run my focus is not on quick times, but establishing a basic rhythm and noting various details.


After establishing the stock setup characteristics, you can proceed to make the initial changes.

The stock setup lacks top-speed (192mph) and is not geared well to my tastes, so the first changes I make

are to the wings and gearing. Ill alter the strategy to 0 stops and add 22 liters of fuel (good for 6 laps)

and then proceed to make multiple short runs while making the wing and gear changes. At this stage, its

obvious whether the change is right or not, and you can come right back in to the garage as soon as its

apparent. Initial wing and gear changes are quite black and white; it either works or it doesnt. This setup

phase can usually be accomplished in about 10 minutes, or 4 to 5 single-lap stints. Also at this same time,

you should set your braking bias and start camber and tire pressure adjustments.

To achieve the 200mph-plus top speed, I end up with significantly less wing (25 front and rear).

This becomes the aerodynamic base to from which to fine-tune the mechanical grip. But in the same

respect, it is only a base or starting point.

Establishing a setup Suspension Rough-in

The next phase is to rough in the suspension. Initially, you should adjust the dampers to their

static reference mid-point. This allows you to make spring changes knowing that later, you can easily go in

either direction with the dampers during their fine-tuning phase. Silverstone is a very bumpy track in some

spots and the bumps affect the car at both the front and the rear. For this reason, Im going with softer

springs to allow the suspension to have enough travel to deal with the bumps effectively. Still filling the

car with only 22 liters of fuel, I make several runs of 4 to 6 laps, making adjustments to the springs, antiroll

bar and front wing to balance the car.

Since one of the stock setups characteristics is a lack of rear traction under acceleration on exit, I

really soften the rear springs and bars in relation to the front. After making each run, I download telemetry

from the fastest lap and check ride height (un-smoothed). The ride height needs to be higher than normal to

accommodate the spring movement. To lower the ride height and use packers to prevent severe bottoming

will only negate the effects of the softer springs over bumps in the corners. [Just for the record: if the track

was smooth like Magny-Cours, we could run stiffer springs and a lower ride height. Typically with this

type of setup, the cars tendency to bottom happens more often at the end of a long straight where

aerodynamic downforce is pushing the car into the track. In this case, packers are the instruments of

choice, as they dont severely affect the handling while preventing plank wear.]

E. Alexanders 1m21s509 front ride height trace over C. Wynns 1m19.853 reference lap. In the above

trace you can see how the front is bottoming at seven distinct points during the lap. This will require

raising the front ride height slightly.


You should select spring rates for response and grip over the various track surfaces, as well as tire

temps. Use the anti-roll bars, as well as the front wing, to balance the car. This phase typically takes a

while and you can easily make a dozen or so saved setup changes before feeling good enough to proceed.

The general philosophy is to soften the rear to cope with oversteer on turn-in and give better acceleration

out of the corners. Meanwhile, what Ive done is softened the front springs for better grip over the bumps

and increased the front anti-roll bar to balance out the cars rear adjustments. All during this time, Im more

focused on feel and response as opposed to laptimes.

Incidentally, as a result of these simple adjustments, my

lap time drops to 1m20s612. Almost a second faster.

The car is very good under acceleration on corner exit,

but the turn-in response still needs to be fine-tuned.

The car is overall easier to drive.

You should also constantly be analyzing your

line around the lap. The diagram to the left shows my

line through Bridge. The telemetry track map is very

useful to show which line is faster and why. Use the

left mouse button to click and drag a section to analyze.

This will zoom in on the track map and highlight the

accompanying traces. Incremental Time Difference is a

great trace to use for this (see below).

Incremental time difference: Gray = C.W. 1m19.987; red = E.A. 1m21m506; yellow = E.A. 1m20s612

In the above trace I can see that Im losing time at Stowe, Club, and Abbey. There is a second and

a half to be had there. During the fine-tuning phase with the dampers, Ill focus on these corners to set the


Establishing a setup Suspension Fine-tuning

Still doing low-fuel, 4 to 6 lap stints, you can proceed to start damper adjustments. From the

corner characteristics already noted, I increase the front dampers slow response to increase the

responsiveness of the front end. At the same time, I decrease the rear damper slow adjustments (both bump

and rebound) to improve rear grip even more. This is a win-win situation. Remember how stiff springs

deflect energy? With the latest changes, the front dampers are keeping the weight rearward and the soft

rear springs keep the energy stored there for a longer period under transfer. In other words: more grip at

the rear. At the same time, those stiffer front dampers help the steering wheel movements to translate more


quickly into the front wheels. I accompany the stiffer front damper adjustments with some additional front

wing angle to regain any grip I may lose from the front tires.

After several stints while making the above adjustments, I find that the car still doesnt have the

front grip that Id like it to. Response is much improved, but the car still understeers when pushed. I turn

to my static setup reference chart to see where I have some room to make adjustments and find my front

anti-roll bar to be only 20 k/mm below midpoint. This leads to a radical 50 k/mm reduction to see what

type of change I can achieve. Amazingly, this works wonders, and as a result of this plus a bit more front

wing angle, Im able to get to the apex with more control while carrying more speed.

This allows me to really start to focus on my

line again. The diagram to the left shows how I can

achieve the correct line through Abbey easier and with

more precision than before. However this points out

the cars poor behavior when accelerating over the

kerbs. To help with this I reduce the rear damper fast

bump and rebound. This gives the suspension a bit

more give when the tire impacts the kerbs and thus

keeps the tires weighted longer. This in turn keeps

them from hopping off the ground whereas the engine

torque would start to spin the rear tires.

The car is now feels more nimble and can be

handled aggressively around the track. Time to put on

some new Bridgestones and get that time down. I go

for a few flyers back to back and put in a time of

1m19s197. More importantly, most laps are in the

1m19s range. Bumps dont upset the car and the

power can be put down earlier than ever before.


The above Chassis Slip Angle trace shows the added grip the car has achieved. Note the grip is

not rail-like, but rather, the car handles better by breaking away slower and more gradually, allowing the

cars limit to exploited easier. This is reflected in the top right trace: note how in the highlighted Abbey

section, the 1m19s197 lap (green) has much more slip than the slower 1m20s612 lap (yellow). The friction

circle in the lower right corner shows how this increased slip allows a higher lateral acceleration to be

maintained. The Velocity trace shows Im averaging almost 5mph more through Abbey now.

Note the method so far: aerodynamic wing/gear ratio/brake bias adjustments. Next, spring, antiroll

bar and ride height adjustments. Finally, fine-tune the mechanical grip with damper adjustments. The

whole time, you should be monitoring and adjusting the tire pressures and camber settings to maximize the

tires grip and dial in the optimum tire temperatures. [Heres a side note: higher tire temps are caused when

the springs/damper combinations dont absorb enough energy and the resulting weight transfer is deflected

directly into the tire. This will become more critical in adapting this to a race setup.]

After quite a few more unsuccessful changes, I find myself unable to break into the 1m18s times.

This makes me rethink my downforce from the wings. I decide to add downforce, losing top speed, but

hoping to make up even more time in the third sector. In order to do this, I have to start back at the top as


far as fine-tuning the wings, gears and ride height goes. I add 6 degrees of wing, front and rear, adjusting

the gears accordingly. And I raise the cars ride height 2/10th of a centimeter.

Another thing to revisit is my camber and tire pressure settings. While Ive been constantly finetuning

these parameters to near perfection, these new downforce adjustments mean Ill probably have to

make a few minor re-adjustments. But the basic properties of the springs, dampers and anti-roll bars will

transition fine to my new downforce settings.

After a few stints to perfect the gearing, Im ready to go for times. I run three 5-lap stints back to

back and set a new session fast lap of 1m18s873. I also think I could better that time down to a 1m18s5

with a bit more running. And again, the consistency is there as I ran several high 1m18s and low 1m19s.

Not only is the car easier to drive, without a doubt its a second and a half faster than when I started, even

though my top speed on Hanger Straight is now 196mph. The Arrows Cosworth V-10 is about 30-40hp

down on the Ferrari, BMW, and Mercedes engines. That puts me at an estimated second to a one-and-ahalf

second deficit to those top tier cars. Its quite possible that this setup would yield a 1m17s lap in the

Ferrari with some minor alterations. Thats in the running for pole position at 100% opposition levels.

Incremental time difference: Gray = C.W. 1m19.987; yellow = E.A. 1m19m197; green = E.A. 1m18s873

In the above trace, we can see the car is consistently fast across the entire lap, constantly making

up time against the gray reference line. I lost a bit at Brooklands, but quickly regained that immediately.

We can also see how the added downforce made the car slower in the first 2 sectors, but it came out faster

overall by the decreased time in the 3rd sector.

Establishing a setup Qualifying Setup

My setup is already a good qualifying setup, but there are a few things I can do to take it a bit

further. Plank wear is less of a factor so you can try lowering the car a small amount more. Be careful not

to lose performance by lowering it too much: dragging the rear end can be very costly to the stopwatch on a

long straight.

You might also make small adjustments to camber and toe to improve the cars directional

response, as tire wear will not be an issue for the twelve qualifying laps allowed. Some people adjust the

brake and radiators to their smallest settings, but this can have bad side effects. Be sure not to run those

brakes too hot, as youll get slightly reduced braking performance.

Practice your qualifying runs so as to have an idea of what you can do. During qualifying, I like

to go out and run five to six laps, that way I can be sure to get three to four hot laps in, just to get a good lap

on the boards. After that, I can wait and see what everyone elses initial times are. Later, I can run two


separate 3-lap stints, or another 6-lap stint depending on how good I feel about the setup. Still, it helps to

practice this in advance as the twelve laps allowed in qualifying allow little room for last minute


Establishing a setup Race Setup

Racing is a different beast altogether. The driver must be able to take care of the tires and brakes

over the race distance. Typically this means adding downforce, adding ride height, and altering the springs

and dampers to keep the tires at their optimum temperatures. The race setup is directly tied to the race

strategy. Many things should be considered in the decision making process:

1. Speed: How fast can you run on the various tire compounds? Try running full-tank stints and log

average lap times as well as fastest and slowest lap times.

2. Tire wear: Can you run the desired number of laps with the soft compound?

3. Pit lane: How quick is the pit lane from pit in to pit out? Silverstone or Monza: short, straight, and

quick. Magny-Cours or Sepang: long, winding, and risky.

4. Starting position: Starting up front: be more conservative, attempt to control the pace. Starting in back:

Risk more by using extreme setups. Run a light fuel load hoping to make up positions early or run a

heavy fuel load and make fewer stops.

Typically the racing setup has more downforce to cope with the higher levels of fuel. You should

run several stints with 70 liters or so of fuel onboard, making necessary changes to ride height and small

aerodynamic balance adjustments. The only reason to deviate from the setups spring and damper settings

would be to try to lower a specific tires temperature in order to get the necessary tire wear for the chosen


Another thing to watch out for is brake wear. At the end of your full tank run, be sure to check

brake wear. This can be used to calculate pad wear over the race distance. And while on that run, take

note of any adjustment to brake bias as the car lightens. It can be made into a science as to when and how

much to adjust the bias during a race stint.

Try different fuel levels and tire compounds to see what works best for your car and driving style.

In the end, you should have a good idea of what your strategy is, down to the lap times youll be looking to

run. Also practice those pit stops including pit in and pit out laps. The last thing you need in a race is to

run a great first stint followed by a pit speed limit infraction (or worse: accelerating out of the pits into a

spin on the pit exit lane). And dont forget to reset you brake bias during the pit stop.


Establishing a setup Wet Setup

Rain changes everything, and being prepared can really pay off. I like to have a full wet setup

ready just in case. To convert a race setup to a wet setup involves several things:

1. Increase your wing angles.

2. Soften you spring rates (make any necessary ride height compensations).

3. Lengthen your gear ratios.

In the wet, grip is everything. For a full wet setup you should dramatically increase downforce,

sometimes as much as 50%. Youll also want to soften you spring rate to get maximum grip from the tires.

Try to keep both of these in proportion to your race setup. In other words, add equal wing front and rear,

and soften the front and rear springs by equal amounts. As a result of these modifications, youll need to

re-examine the ride height. Be liberal with the ride height, as bottoming in the rain can be catastrophic.

Finally, you want to adjust the gear ratios so as to lower the torque applied to the rear wheels.

Lengthening the final drive ratio can sometimes easily accomplish this. Other times, more precise

alterations to each gear ratio are required for the various corners of the circuit. Alternatively, the driver can

also employ a simple technique known as short shifting. This involves the driver shifting before the

engines peak horsepower is reached, always keeping the car just out of the maximum power band.

A good idea is to develop a wet setup at a medium downforce track with a variety of corners such

as Silverstone, and label it as your Base-WET setup. It then becomes relatively easy to adapt the Base-

WET setup to various circuits attributes as opposed to modifying your current race set-up at the last

moment. This concept works only with full wet or monsoon setups, as an intermediate setup is best derived

from your race setup.

Another thing to consider is how to setup the car for a damp, but drying track at the start of the

race. In its easiest guise it might be only fitting intermediate tires to the car. Other times, its the alwaysrisky

choice of adding a bit more downforce on the grid. But be careful, as the pitfall is a dry track late in

the race with a car having not enough top speed to be competitive.


I believe that my personal speed compared with the drivers Ive driven with, because its only

those guys I can compare myself with - may come from what you do out of your possibilities. I

believe that pure speed isnt always the point; its what you manage to get out of your potential.

And thats where Ive always been very successful. You know, really working deep with the team,

maximizing my possibilities.

Michael Schumacher during an interview with F1 Racing magazine January 2000


Hopefully this guide has enlightened you to what exactly these various components are and more

importantly how they interact inside an F1 car. As Micheal Schumacher points out in the quote above, its

what you manage to get out of your potential. And this certainly includes the cars potential and

maximizing that as well.

Driving style should always be regarded as another factor in setup. One should put forth a lot of

analysis into what attributes his or her driving style requires. Through careful understanding of this, one

can quickly discern which direction a setup must go in order to accommodate the drivers particular style.

Every setup is like a meticulously tailored suit; while it works great for one driver, it can be totally counterproductive

to another. With this in mind, one should understand that when trying anothers setup, instant

speed is not always the case. In fact, many times its the exact opposite. In this case, the setup itself is not

poor, its just missing the technique required to maximize its capabilities. Still, by understanding the

contents of this guide, a driver should be able to quickly identify the setup characteristics and make

adjustments attempting to shift the effectiveness towards a more positive result.

A few last things to take with you: when things become frustrating, I find it best to load a proven

and stable setup on to the car, go out and focus on consistently quick lap times. Sometimes, quite often in

fact, the setup is not the problem. Its a line taken through a corner or a braking point thats being pushed

to far (or not far enough). I quit focusing on the setup and switch my attention to my line, reference points,

and technique. Many a time, this will eventually show up a couple of tenths of a second and a better way to

tackle part of the circuit, after which I can resume setup modifications.

And finally, I refer to this guides beginning lines again: There is no substitute for logging the laps

that make your reactions to the car become second nature. There is no quick way to learn a new circuit so

you can concentrate totally on what the car is doing at any given point in time. The only way to be faster is

to practice, read, learn, and practice some more.


References and resources

Conversion formulas: Imperial to Metric

Length Conversion Factors

To convert from to multiply by

mile (US Statute) kilometer (km) 1.609347

inch (in) millimeter (mm) 25.4 *

inch (in) centimeter (cm) 2.54 *

inch (in) meter (m) 0.0254 *

foot (ft) meter (m) 0.3048 *

yard (yd) meter (m) 0.9144 *

Volume Conversion Factors

To convert from to multiply by

gallon (gal) liter 4.546

Canada liquid

gallon (gal) cubic meter (cu m) 0.004546

Canada liquid

gallon (gal) liter 3.7854118

U.S. liquid**

gallon (gal) cubic meter (cu m) 0.00378541

U.S. liquid

Force Conversion Factors

To convert from to multiply by

pound (lb) kilogram (kg) 0.4535924


pound (lb) newton (N) 4.448222

Pressure or Stress Conversion Factors

To convert from to multiply by

pound per square pascal (Pa) 6,894.757

inch (psi)

pound per square megapascal (MPa) 0.00689476

inch (psi)

Mass (weight) Conversion Factor

To convert from to multiply by

pound (lb) kilogram (kg) 0.4535924


Temperature Conversion Factors


degree Fahrenheit (F) degree Celsius (C) tc=(tF-32)/1.8

degree Fahrenheit (F) kelvin (K) tk = (tF+459.7)/1.8

kelvin (K) degree Celsius (C) tc=tk-273.15

Power Conversion Factors


mile per hour (mph) kilometer per hour(km/hr) 1.60934

mile per hour (mph) meter per second (m/s) 0.44704

*indicates that the factor given is exact.

**One U.S. gallon equals 0.8327 Canadian gallon.

t--A pascal equals 1.000 newton per square meter.

More Useful Conversion Factors

Quantity From English To Metric


Units Units by*

Mass lb kg 0.4536

kip (1000 lb) metric ton (1000kg) 0.4536

Mass/unit length plf kg/m 1.488

Mass/unit area psf kg/m 2 4.882

Mass density pcf kg/m 3 16.02

Force lb N 4.448

kip kN 4.448

Force/unit length plf N/m 14.59

klf kN/m 14.59

Pressure (stress)

modules of

elasticity psf Pa 47.88

ksf kPa 47.88

psi kPa 6.895

ksi MPa 6.895

Bending moment, ft-lb N . m 1.356

Torque (moment of force) ft-kip kN . m 1.356

* 4 significant digits

**denotes exact conversion


RacerAlex Advanced Formula 1 Setup Guide V 1.1 8.21.02

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