F1 2021 setups are key to unlocking lap time and car performance, but unlike previous years there isn't one golden setup that is over-powered out on track.
While we provide setups for every track that are reliable to handle and solid benchmarks to work from, there is a remarkable joy in building your own setup from the ground up and figuring out what is best for you.
Find what works for you
We've all tried to lift a time trial setup from the leaderboards and use it, only to end up spinning off into the barrier at what should be an easy corner. That's because it's not a setup attuned to your style of driving.
Using something that suits you, rather than trying to temper your style to fit a setup, is a common piece of advice and one that Jarno too provides.
The Dutchman is not a fan of the pre-set setups either, and suggests avoiding those!
F1 2021 has a very different feel to last year's game when it comes to aerodynamics, thanks to the reduced downforce of the 2021 cars.
Jarno's first tip is to never run lower than 4 wings on F1 2021. You can also have the front and rear values close together, but there are a lot of different values that work. It's very driver-dependent and relies on your level of confidence and car control.
For on-throttle differential, Jarno suggests no lower than 70, and all the way up to 100.
If you go too low the inside wheel will start spinning on corner exit, making you lose performance. The higher differential gives you more understeer on exit but better traction in the heavy traction zones aka the exit of slow corners. The downside is that it can make oversteery moments harder to catch, so beware!
Off throttle he suggests you don't play around too much, giving 56% as a very good base. While lower off-throttle differential creates rotation in the car, too low and you'll start locking wheels up and missing the corner completely.
Anywhere from 54 to 60 is a good range.
This is the one part of the setup that we can breeze over.
The tip from Jarno is to just always leave suspension geometry like this. That's -2.50 on the front camber, -2.00 on the rear. 0.05 front toe and 0.20 rear toe.
We've found a bit of success in adding a click or two of front toe back to the car for a little extra cornering performance.
Higher settings here make the car harsher on the bumps and kerbs, so be careful here.
Jarno's top tip is that 1 on the front suspension and anti-roll bar works very well. This lets you create rotation in the car by running stiffer rear values.
You should keep the rear suspension and anti-roll bar linked. Not exactly the same value but they shouldn't be far from each other, as some crazy things can start happening to your car.
The rotation created by a suspension setup that is1-6, 1-6 can be balanced with the aerodynamics. That added rotation from the springs needs to be balanced with less front wing or a touch more rear wing.
If you are having some issues with locking up then you could play with the brakes (we'll get to those!) or just make the rear anti-roll bar a touch stiffer.
Ride height can be played with a lot as there isn't really one way to do things. There's not a massive change on the front, but Jarno suggests never going lower than 6. A higher rear ride height will create more downforce and higher values will allow you to ride the kerbs more with better responsiveness in steering. Just be careful with snaps of oversteer when taking too much of the kerb!
Jarno confirms what we already know, that 100% brake pressure is always best! If you are locking up a lot then you can lower it, but don't go lower than 90.
The brake bias defines how the braking power gets distributed between the front tyres and the rear. The extremes will have you locking up very quickly. You can play between 54%-57%. Jarno likes 56%, which is the same as us!
Tyre pressure regulates temperature because it changes how much contact there is with the ground. Higher pressures = smaller contact patch and so there is less rolling resistance and you can get a higher top speed. But that comes at the cost of higher temperatures.
Lower pressures will give you more contact and thus more mechanical grip, great for slow corners and traction. However, that makes for a more sluggish car when trying to do quick changes of direction, such as through an esses section or a fast kink.
Jarno suggests new players leave the tyres roughly in the middle, and keep the values closely linked. We've found success running high tyre pressures this year, but it can make the car a bit more skittish so if you are having trouble with losing the rear mid-corner just drop the pressures slightly for more mechanical grip.
Everything works together
No part of the setup works independently from another. A change to one part can make others behave very differently. So while these tips and goldilocks zones for settings are useful, don't think they are the be-all and end all. As anyone who has tried one of Jarno's setups knows, what works for the pros is an absolute handful for us mortals!
Use Jarno's tips, but in practice and time trial, and don't be afraid to adjust if you find things too wild. Start by balancing out his suspension and stiffening up the front a touch. That will make the car more predictable in corners. In the end, as he says at the top, it's all about finding what works for YOU!