Picking up a new racing game can be a daunting challenge.
Many F1 fans will eventually pick up a copy of the official game by Codemasters to try their hand at it, and it can be exceptionally tricky to get started.
If you are new to F1 2020, or planning to wait until F1 2021 is released before you start your journey, then this is the place for you!
The good thing about F1 games is that you don't need an expensive racing wheel and home setup to be fast.
Codemasters built their games with accessibility in mind, and as such it is a great game for those using a controller.
While F1 cars are notoriously complicated, the F1 game is relatively easy to pick up and play. On the home page there is an "Assists" section that can remove a lot of the complex controls and let you concentrate on just driving.
Casual mode is a great place to start, as it even includes a steering assist that will help you get around the corners and reset you to the track. The standard assists come with some preset tunes like "Beginner" that gives you a braking assist, automatic gearbox and full traction control and ABS.
This sounds like a lot but even the best F1 esports drivers started with a full suite of assists!
Time Trial is the perfect practice ground
So you've got a the right level of assists to go racing with some confidence, but don't just dive straight into career mode! New drivers should instead go into Time Trial, as this mode is the perfect place to practice.
Time Trial gives players the ideal weather & track conditions to do well, and also has no damage or tyre wear to worry about. It's a place you can just drive and start to understand how to string corners together and how the car actually handles!
Tracks like Austria, Canada, and Italy are perfect for new players to practice on as their layouts are fairly simple and they have a good mix of corners.
As you get more confident with the way the car behaves and know your way around the tracks you can begin to peel back the assists and take more control of the car.
A good setup in F1 games can trim seconds off your lap time, but it can be a painstaking process to create your own.
Fortunately, Time Trial allows your to download and use setups that other people have used to set fast times.
Using these and looking at how others have made changes to the way the wings, suspension, and tyres are all set will help you learn the ins and outs of setup creation.
Be warned though, Time Trial setups are rarely good to use in races, especially if you plan on doing 50% or 100% race distances in your career mode save.
That's where we come in. Our RacingGames team has created a setup for each track that is stable and friendly to its tyres, meaning you won't be sliding around on worn rubber or having to make an extra pitstop.
Flashbacks are your friend
Now that you are comfortable racing by yourself, it's time to dive into a race. You can just create a Grand Prix in F1 2020, or start a career mode or MyTeam save.
Career mode is an "arrive and drive" style mode where you are just the driver for an F1 team, but MyTeam lets you create a whole new F1 team on the grid which you then run as well as drive for.
Once you've picked one and you get onto the track with others you can always "rewind" from any mistake using a flashback. This is a great way undo a crash and learn from mistakes. Don't be afraid to use them!
Simply hit the menu button (Xbox) or Share (PlayStation) to bring up your flashback and rewind to a safe spot.
Practice, practice, practice
The only way to get really good at the F1 games is simply to put the hours in and practice!
There are no shortcuts to pace or tricks you can learn that instantly make you faster.
Ultimate speed is found in becoming comfortable with every assist turned off, but that itself will take time and something even those that have been playing for years struggle with.
In the end, F1 2020, and all the Codemasters F1 games, are as fun or competitive as you want them to be. From moving the AI level between races and keeping things fun to sweating esports qualifying events, you can do it all.
Just remember to enjoy yourself!