F1 2020: A Guide to Formula 2 cars

F1 2020: A Guide to Formula 2 cars

From braking to race starts, Formula 2 cars can be tricky to handle. This guide will help you out.

Photo credit: Jacob Hancox

The Formula 2 cars in F1 2020 are a handful, to say the least. Their far lower levels of downforce compared to F1 machinery make them difficult to control and somewhat unpredictable. With the recent addition of the 2020 F2 grid and cars to the game, many people will be finding this out first-hand. Because of this, we’ve compiled a little guide to get people who are new to Formula 2 heading in the right direction.

Racing and Driving

Let’s start of with the absolute fundamentals. Driving a Formula 2 car is difficult, so you’ll need to be prepared and to know what to watch out for. You’ll notice a difference between these cars and the Formula 1 ones right immediately, as the race starts need to be handled in a totally different way.

To get a good start in an F2 car it is best that you use one hundred percent throttle application before the start, before dropping down to around eighty percent as the lights go out. Then, gradually build it back up to a hundred percent again as your rear tires grip up. This really is very difficult, so don’t get too disheartened if you struggle initially.

Locking your rear brakes
Locking your rear brakes might knock you out of the race entirely. Photo credit: Jacob Hancox

Something you will certainly need to be wary of if you aren’t using ABS is the possibility of your rear brakes locking. With the F1 cars on F1 2020 this is hardly ever a problem, but the F2 cars are far more susceptible to rear locking. When the rear of a car locks up, the car aggressively jolts in one direction or the other, as if it’s trying to throw itself off the circuit. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that you don’t get too greedy on the brakes into the heavy braking zones. It’s better to brake a little too early and ease off the brakes when you get to the corner than it is to go in hot, lock up and spin out.

Another factor to beware of in an F2 race is the tire drop-off. Formula 2 tires fall off a cliff far more easily than in Formula 1. Therefore, keeping your tires in good shape and balancing pace with conservation is even more essential in an F2 race. If you can save a decent amount of tire life by sacrificing a couple of tenths of a second per lap, then that’s almost certainly what you should be doing. On top of this, the high levels of wear mean that undercuts are potentially huge, though a lack of tire blankets means that you will have to get heat into any new tires you put on the car.


F2 cars have a simplified setup screen compared to their Formula 1 counterparts. In particular, brake pressure can no longer be edited, and the transmission settings are less customizable. However, aside from these differences, there are a couple of alterations one would have to make from an F1 setup to an F2 setup at the same circuit.

brake balance
Running a brake balance of around fifty-seven percent will work at most tracks. Photo credit: Jacob Hancox

First and foremost is the brake balance. Given that you cannot edit brake pressure in F2 cars, getting the brake balance spot on is essential. Furthermore, the fact that rear locking of brakes can be such a problem only serves to make it more important that you find your correct balance. In general, a balance more towards the front brakes will suit an F2 car well. At most circuits, a percentage value in the high fifties ought to do the trick.

The other key change you may want to make is regarding your tire pressures. When using an F1 car in F1 2020, you will almost always want to run the minimum tire pressures allowed, so as to prevent the tires overheating and losing performance. When it comes to F2 cars, the situation is a little more complex. Due to the lack of tire blankets, it can be harder and more crucial to warm up new sets of tires effectively. Therefore, running somewhat higher tire pressures than you would in F1 machinery is generally the way to go.

Rules and Regulations

Pitting at the right moment
Pitting at the right moment is even more important in F2 than in F1! Photo credit: Jacob Hancox

There are a number of additional rules in F2 races that you will need to be aware of. In the feature race, you need to make a mandatory pit stop, as you would in F1. However, you will still need to run a certain portion of the race on each set of tires. In a fifty percent distance race, you will need to do at least three whole laps on each set of tires, for example. Furthermore, you cannot make your mandatory pit stop under a Virtual Safety Car, so no half-price pit stops there! This rule does not apply for full safety cars.

Each Formula 2 race weekend is split between the feature race and the sprint race. In the latter of these two, you do not need to make a pit stop, and the grid positions will be determined by the finishing order of the feature race. The top eight finishers in the feature will make up the top eight on the sprint race grid, but in reverse order. Those who finish outside the top eight in the feature race will start the sprint race exactly where they finished.

What are your thoughts on using Formula 2 cars in F1 2020? Do you like them or do you prefer Formula 1 vehicles? Tell us on Twitter at @overtake_gg!

My name is Jacob and I have been writing for OverTake since November of 2020. I come from the UK, but I'm now living in Berlin. I love to watch, write about and sometimes shout about all forms of racing.