F1 23: Why You Should Turn Off Assists NOW

Hey Top Driver!

The debate over driving assists is heating up among drivers in the F1 community.

Some see them as useful, while others think they ruin the SimCade experience.

From one perspective, the purists argue:

"Relying on driving assists means you're not really driving. You're just a passenger in a car that does everything for you. Where's the fun in driving a car that practically operates on autopilot?"

On the other side, there are those who defend using assists:

"With assists on, I can focus on the race without worrying about flying off the track at every corner. I might not be the fastest, but at least I can complete a clean lap!"

These opposing views reflect the diversity of opinions in the virtual F1 world, where balancing the authenticity of the driving experience with accessibility for players at all levels is a frequent topic of debate.

But what’s our take on assists?

Truth be told, using assists can be helpful in the very early stages of getting into F1.

If you’re a newbie who has never driven a virtual F1 car, then active assists can prevent immediate frustration and giving up before you even start.

However, from our perspective, turning off assists is crucial in your growth within the virtual F1 world.

It's not about being a purist.

It's just that with assists, you're slower, and this has been proven repeatedly with telemetry data by us at ADT.

Why are assists used?

Like any new skill, you start with baby steps: you learned to ride a bike with training wheels and to swim with floaties.

Similarly, learning to race in F1 23 is a challenge, especially if you're new and have limited practice time.

To not "drown" in the sea of virtual F1, you rely on driving assists, your floaties that let you navigate the circuit with ease.

Assists give you security, comfort, speed...

The convenience of ABS that prevents you from locking the wheels, the peace of mind from Traction Control that saves you from spinning out, or the automatic gearbox that takes care of shifting, freeing you from the need to change gears at every turn...

These are just some of the assists available on F1 23 to "simplify" your experience.

Do assists make you faster or just safer?

Initially, assists may seem like a shortcut to reaching top speeds in F1 23, but it's a temporary illusion.

You feel faster because without assists, every corner is a potential disaster!

It’s natural to be slower without assists if every turn is a struggle to maintain control.

Perhaps you've already tried turning them off but were immediately overwhelmed by despair and intimidation.

It’s like a child whose training wheels or floaties are removed.

Initially, they feel lost and scared, but once they gain confidence, they never want to go back.

The same goes for you, Top Driver, if you decide to rid yourself of assists!

It's normal to feel disoriented and incapable at first, and the temptation to reactivate them is strong.

Assists are an addiction from which you can and MUST break free!

Why do you go slower with assists?

Every assist on F1 23, from assisted braking to the ideal line, from automatic gearbox to ABS and Traction Control, actually slows down your driving.

Assists can be comforting, like an airbag ready to protect you in case of a mistake.

But have you been told that driving with assists is like racing with the handbrake on?

It's true. 

Assists might keep you on the road, but at what cost?

Your speed, your skill, your potential are all limited by tenths, if not seconds!

Now, let's discover the three main assists on F1 23.

ABS, Ideal Line, and Traction Control, what they do to the car, and some tips for removing them.

ABS

Let's bust a myth: you're not faster with ABS activated!

Those who argue otherwise simply haven't yet honed their braking technique without ABS, nor have they learned to utilize the full potential of the car during braking.

But what exactly is ABS?

ABS stands for Anti-Lock Braking System. 

This driving aid steps in to prevent tire lock-up.

However, it limits the car's steering ability into corners, leaving you grappling with understeer.

With ABS, you might think you're braking to the max, but in reality, you're deceiving yourself.

The car becomes sluggish, prone to understeer, and reluctant to dive into corners.

Thus, to truly speed up, it's crucial to disable ABS and learn to brake correctly!

Not surprisingly, all world records are held by drivers without assists, and in the F1 Esports, the pinnacle of virtual competition, assists are banned.

Now, we’ll explain how to remove ABS and brake properly without lock-ups!

How do I avoid lock-ups? 

You might wonder. 

Here's the answer.

Tire grip isn’t infinite.

Suppose a tire has 100 points of grip.

If you brake with maximum intensity while also steering sharply, the tires can't handle this extra demand for grip and will lock up.

So, you need to distribute these 100 points of grip between steering and braking, reducing their intensity progressively as you enter a corner.

To avoid lock-ups, remember this pattern:

  1. Initial braking phase: Wheels straight, brake at 100%.
  2. Second braking phase: Begin to turn into the corner while gradually releasing the brake pedal.

F1 cars, just before braking after a long straight, carry immense aerodynamic load, so you're unlikely to lock the wheels with the steering straight and during the initial braking phase.

As the car slows down, the aerodynamic load decreases.

So you'll need to gradually release the brake depending on the amount of steering angle you're applying.

You're not in a road car that requires a gentle, progressive start to braking, but in a single-seater going over 300 km/h.

Furthermore, you can't expect to brake correctly without excellent timing in downshifting.

This is because engine braking also comes into play during braking.

By downshifting, you allow the engine brake to assist, helping to slow down the car and manage corners better.

Here are some tips for optimal timing in downshifting:

From eighth to fifth gear, shift as quickly as you can.

Then, take a bit more time for the lower gears.

Only by doing this can you fully utilize the potential of engine braking speed by speed and brake as effectively as possible.

Traction Control

Disabling Traction Control is one of the toughest challenges for newcomers, who often find themselves spinning at the exit of corners.

Traction Control prevents the rear wheels from skidding, allowing you to accelerate without fear of losing control.

But this doesn't mean you're faster out of corners.

Traction Control actually limits engine power to maintain traction, significantly slowing you down.

It’s like trying to run fast on a bicycle... with training wheels.

If you truly want to improve your times, you need to start driving without assists!

This is because TRACTION plays a CRUCIAL role in your performance!

Probably the most important driving technique because it most significantly affects your performance.

The difference between a good and a bad corner exit is enormous.

With poor traction, at best, you lose many tenths on your lap-time, you’ll be overtaken on the straight, and you won’t manage to pass others.

At worst, you might spin out and hit the wall.

DNF and goodbye to your dreams of glory.

For this reason, it's vital to master the acceleration phase by knowing all the secrets to do it right.

Now, we give you some tips for perfecting traction without the help of TCS.

Accelerate based on the amount of steering angle applied. 

Be gradual during realignment. 

This is because the grip of the tires is limited.

Tires, therefore, can't handle an excessive amount of demanded grip.

In the specific case of traction, if you accelerate sharply while applying a lot of steering angle, you'll experience dangerous oversteer.

Suppose the maximum grip available is again 100.

These points must be correctly distributed between steering angle and throttle.

You can’t accelerate full throttle when you’re realigning the steering wheel, especially in slower corners where the car generates less aerodynamic load.

Also, keep in mind that there is a load transfer from the front to the rear during acceleration.

Make sure it’s gradual.

You must modulate the throttle as you straighten the car and redistribute these 100 percentage points, avoiding breaking traction.

Remember this scheme, especially in slower corners:

A lot of steering angle, just past the apex –> little throttle

Little steering angle, when the tires are almost straight –> more throttle

Ideal Racing Line

Another difficult assist to remove is the Ideal Line, a 3D line that traces the paths to take through all the curves of a circuit.

It tells you where to brake, where to start the trail-braking phase, where to position the wheels, and where to start accelerating out of the curve.

These lines are the so-called "safe" ones, which make you feel more secure and safe, but they will never allow you to use the entire track, leaving precious tenths in the drawer!

Driving following that darned line on the ground is a bit like driving on a single track, with no possibility to build your own driving style, your way of driving that makes you feel comfortable.

Moreover, the line is a distraction when you're battling with an opponent.

Maybe you move inside and lose the braking point, ending up long or short, paving the way for your rival, just because without paying close attention to what that line tells you, you feel disoriented.

To help you move out of this disorientation phase and drive without the Ideal Line, here’s a quick and valuable tip.

Start observing the references you find throughout the circuit.

The curbs, the distance markers, bridges, marks on the asphalt.

They are all clues that will help you draw the perfect trajectory along every single curve of any circuit.

Learn to utilize everything the track offers you.

Every single inch, any strip of asphalt, curb that can be used.

Keep your gaze focused on the elements that a circuit can offer you...

...and you’ll see that you'll have no problems in drawing the lines that will let you to make the difference.

"Ok, all this sounds great... But I can't remove the assists on my own! Any tips?"

First of all, know that removing each assist is a slow, delicate, and laborious process.

You must turn, turn, and turn again. Take all the time you need, train hard, and you’ll see that gradually you will get used to driving FULL ELITE.

You will need to sweep away the mechanisms of driving with assists and replace them with new, powerful mechanisms of driving without assists.

A driving style that will bring you countless benefits.

Imagine the thrill, the surge of adrenaline when you push your car to the limit and come first at the finish line of a race.

Imagine the happiness, the boost of pride and self-esteem you will have when you achieve all your goals on F1 23.

Imagine watching yourself on the track, achieving a Podium or winning a Race.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to do EVERYTHING you want on your own, like: creating Setups, achieving poles and victories, winning championships?

We are ADT Esports Academy, the first virtual F1 academy in the world.

With over 15 years of experience in sim racing, we have helped more than 2000 drivers revolutionize their driving style on F1, with some reaching the F1 Esports.

Others have simply started having fun, improved their performances, and won races/championships.

If you really want to improve on F1 23, you're in the right place!

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See you soon and when in the doubt, flat out!

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