F1 2020 Guide: How to pick the winning strategy

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F1 2020
The right strategy is crucial to success in F1 2020, here's how you can determine a winning strategy.
Photo credit: Codemasters

Having the pace to win races on Codemasters' F1 2020 is one thing, but it's useless if you're not on the right strategy. There's nothing worse than leading the early stages of the races from pole position, only to be superseded by drivers starting much further back but on a superior strategy. But never fear, we are going to teach you everything you need to know.

Qualifying is crucial



Qualifying can be crucial to the outcome of your race for a number of reasons. Primarily, where you start on the grid will inevitably increase or decrease the likelihood of a top result. You're far more likely to avoid incidents if you're at the front of the field – and the inverse is true if you're in the thick of the midfield pack.

It also plays an important role in deciding your race strategy. If you qualify inside the top 10, you'll start the race on the tires you qualified on. Of course, to qualify inside the top 10 you'll usually have to use soft tires. However, if you feel particularly confident, you may wish to gamble on setting your fastest lap on the medium tires.

This may open up more strategic options in the race. For example, if you qualify on mediums at tracks like Bahrain and Hanoi, you can do a one-stop race rather than the two-stop strategy that you'd need to do if you start on the soft tires. That one-stop strategy could be faster if you can look after your tires and the other drivers get stuck in traffic or lose time battling each other.

Mind your tires throughout the qualifying session. If you set a quick time, make sure your in-lap back to the pits is steady to avoid unnecessary wear on them. It's also useful to know roughly how long each lasts, and remember that if you're starting on your qualifying tires, you'll need to subtract the number of qualifying laps from their life. Have a look at our tire guide for further information on this topic:



Be adaptable



When you pick your race strategy you need to be prepared to have a plan B… and a plan C. What happens if you pick up damage amid opening lap chaos and you need to change your wing?

Be sure to have this plan in mind before you lose your wing, so you know exactly what to do to limit the damage and turn a poor start into a strategic opportunity. Perhaps you can bolt on the hard tires and run long into the race or maybe you want to opt for soft ones to claw back time to the rest of the field.

There is a high probabilty that your plan doesn't work out. You should have a backup plan up your sleeve.Be ready to adapt your strategy when your initial plans don't work out anymore. Photo credit: Josh Suttill


There's also the risk of virtual and safety cars occurring at any time, which brings the common dilemma of whether or not you should pit. As a general rule, if you're over halfway through a stint, you should seriously consider pitting. However, sometimes staying out can be the best option. Consider how easy it is to overtake at the track and how many laps of the race remain.

If you've had a poor start to your race or you’re running at the back of the field, it is recommendable making two pitstops under the safety car to cycle through the mandatory tire. You'll be able to re-join at the back of the pack and it gives you chance to avoid running the soft tire at a high-degradation circuit. Make sure you communicate with your team-mate, if possible, to avoid one of you losing time waiting to be serviced in the pits.

Check the weather forecast before qualifying



As soon as you load into the qualifying session, check the weather forecast for both qualifying and the race. There's little point in gambling on setting your fastest qualifying time on the medium tires if it's going to be a full-wet race.

Choose your strategy wisely. Weather is a crucial factor you have to take into account.Depending on the weather – or on your racing style – you can make adjustments to your strategy. Photo credit: Josh Suttill


Equally, if you know there's rain predicted for around 20 minutes into the race, the medium tire may be the best option to ensure that when it’s time to switch to the intermediate tires, it’s your first pitstop. You don’t want to be switching from soft to medium tires, and then to intermediates a mere few laps later.

As in real-world F1, be prepared for the weather forecast to be completely wrong.

Practice and copy



Sometimes the best way to learn the optimal strategy for each circuit is a classic bit of trial and error. If you get beaten by another driver with a better strategy, just use theirs next time.

If you're really interested in strategy, make a spreadsheet with the optimal strategies for each of the 22 races and how many laps the tires last at each circuit. That way, you'll be prepared for any online or career mode race.

You could also copy the strategies of F1 Esports drivers as there's plenty of videos across YouTube that demonstrate the best winning tire combinations. Whatever your method, there isn't always one perfect race strategy. You have to be adaptable to the circumstances in the race and ultimately sometimes you need to trust your racing instincts and make the best of whichever strategy you opt for.

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