How can I race in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix?

01 F1 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.jpg
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be extremely excited about the return of Formula One this month. In fact, this weekend is the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

If you’re even more like me, you’ll enjoy getting into the mood of a race by running the circuit in a simulator. So let’s go one step further and go through the best ways of simulating the upcoming race in the most immersive way possible.

F1 2021: The obvious choice for a simulated Grand Prix

When one thinks about racing Formula One cars from the comfort of their living room, Codemasters’ F1 series is the go-to. In its most recent 2021 form, it features all the cars and liveries in intricate detail. Each driver is included in the game running at a pace designed to simulate their real-world performances.

Furthermore, it has to be mentioned that the AI produced by the franchise in recent years has been second to none. Harsh battles on-track, strategy fights and a number of random elements mean each race you run in the title will be different.

Though there are a few downsides to trying to run a Grand Prix in the official F1 game. The main issue being exactly that, it’s a game. The simulation factor is far from being what it could be. Many simulation fans will criticise the title for having a simplified take on handling physics. While there are several odd driving style choices one has to make when trying to get the most out of the car. I’m sure we’ve all heard about, the shall we say, unique approach to gear shifting that was needed in recent iterations of the game.

02 F1 2021 Saudi Arabia.jpg


A second point I’ll point out is that the tracks are far from being the most accurate to the real world. In the case of the Jeddah Corniche circuit, this isn’t a major issue. Given the age of the circuit, there doesn’t appear to be a laser-scanned version of the track. But later on in the year, you’ll find it hard to race on some tracks without scoffing after every corner. I’m talking about you, Bus Stop chicane at Spa-Francorchamps.

Finally, there is the slight issue that this game still focuses on last year’s cars. In a normal Formula One season, this would hardly be pointed out as a problem. But as 2022 sees the biggest regulations change the sport has seen in over 40 years, I think it’s best to remember that fact.

Assetto Corsa: The best Saudi Arabian Grand Prix experience?

Amongst other things, RaceDepartment is a hub for simracing mods. And there’s no title that supports more third party mods than Assetto Corsa. Despite its age, the game produced by Kunos back in 2014 is still very much alive and kicking.

It’s thanks to these mods that we can simulate the upcoming Saudi Arabian Grand Prix flawlessly, or near enough. You will have to accept playing around with settings a bit as this way to get racing around Jeddah isn’t quite as plug-and-play as our first option. The good news is, most of what you need to download is right here on RaceDepartment.

03 Formula One 2022 in Assetto Corsa.jpg


First up, you’ll have to venture over to Race Sim Studios and collect their amazing Formula Hybrid X 2022. The model is pretty much the only one in the simracing-sphere to give us the new ground effect cars. With amazing quality of work and an impressive feel behind the wheel, it’ll become a car you drive even away from a Formula One weekend. The car does come at a price however. But currently costing a measly €3,31, I think you’ll cope. Especially after that new wheelbase you just bought.

Alongside the car, you’ll have to download the track. Luckily, a version of the Jeddah Corniche track is available to download on Racedepartment. Since its creation by Tyrone in March last year, it has amassed a commendable 3.5-star rating and has been downloaded a whopping 32,000 times.

Giving the circuit an extra shot of flavour is Pyyer’s track extension making it look exactly as it does this weekend. Sponsorship billboards, kerbs, buildings and bridges have all been added to the already impressive circuit while DRS zones have been adjusted to ensure the racing is as authentic as possible.

Finally, as the RSS cars don’t come with the official liveries, I’d suggest downloading skins from the Racedepartment download section. User Shadow118 has helpfully created each of the 2022 Formula One liveries and brought them together in skin pack that can be downloaded as a whole. What a wonderful community this is.

Now that you’ve got all you need to simulate the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, let’s go over how to set the race up. If you’re bored of the plethora of files going in and out of your PC at this point, you could just hit drive in Content Manager and get going. But let’s be honest, we’ve got this far. We’re going the whole hog.

04 Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.jpg


Inside Content Manager, you can create line ups of cars using ballast and engine restrictors to get a more realistic results sheet. This also means you can give yourself an extra challenge by trying to win in a Haas. Or should we now say McLaren. Yes, we’re all sad about that factor of the 2022 F1 season so far.

Given we don’t really know where each car sits in this year’s grid, I would focus on restricting the engines. Let’s say the Honda has the most power, so Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault -powered cars could have 20, 10 and 25 horsepower restrictors as an example. Later on in the year, we might know a bit more to add ballast to individual chassis, but let’s keep it as simple as possible for this race.

You’ve now reached another checkpoint where you can either keep going or stop here and hit the track. Though don’t fear, we’re not far from a fully simulated Grand Prix. According to the official Formula One website, the lights will go out at 8pm on Sunday March, 27. So make sure to input those quick numbers into Content Manager before getting going.

To make up the 300-odd km race, the official race will last 50 laps. If like me you’re insane, a full race has to be on the agenda. Though I understand time is of the essence so with such a round number, it’s easy to calculate shortened race distances. For instance, a 50% race would be 25 laps and a quarter-length race would hit a total of 13 laps.

Now, you have about as realistic a simulation you can get for the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. I hope you manage to get in the sim rig this weekend in between real-world sessions. Let us know how you get on.
About author
Angus Martin
Motorsport gets my blood pumping more than anything else. Be it physical or virtual, I'm down to bang doors.

Comments

Thursday evening I did a couple of races in the AC track mod.

First time track experience, simracing it as 'a short weekend' of 20 min qual followed by a 30 min race in the forgiving Tatuus FA01. Nice first touch of the track, though I think it's even more dangerous than watching last seasons F1 race on the telly.

2nd race in the Ferrari F643 mod and a mixed race of start 90ies F1 mods. This time as a full GP distance, initiated by 45min practice and 25min qual.

My experience simracing this track at speed is a very dangerous track indeed.

Especially on the distance. It's a track you cannot miss focus just a tiny second. Just like Monaco GP circuit. But this one with far more severe consequences.

This really put in perspective the challenge of today's real F1 drivers. And quite worried about Magnussen mentioning post qual several times that his neck hurt, thinking of the need of concentration on the long distance on the track.

I don't think I'll simrace this track alot in the future, since I'm not a fan of the layout. Though maybe that should be under circumstances if I feel the need for some training in concentration on the long runs.
 
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There's very little inspiration for racing at this track... From it's location to it's layout...

Even watching it is only enticing due to it being the 2nd round of the season...
 
Funny "how can I race in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix?" while drivers ask themselves: "how can I NOT race in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix?"

You are *fill in here a lot of bad things* if you say upfront you wonder why they are even going to such a country. F1 is pretty humanly involved and because of X and Y, we do this, don't do that, don't race in Russia anymore, fire Mazepin and so on.
So.......we are going to race in a country that has just decapitated 81 people!
A country so "open", you get arrested for having a bible.
You are not allowed to speak of these things; thats racist.
Now, they see themselves; those "wonderful, peace loving folks" are keeping you hostage!
 

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Angus Martin
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