Formula 1 2022 is an enjoyable and engaging way to strengthen your understanding of racing, as well as a thrilling chance to drive these freaky spaceships on wheels. But the onboarding process is, unfortunately, lacking in pretty fundamental ways.
While not much has changed in regards to F1 2022‘s user interface and the way the game ushers you through different modes, there sadly still isn’t a whole lot to teach you the ins and outs of the driver’s side of things. I’m still a bit of a novice myself, but I found several ways to improve your time in F1 2022 that the game just straight up doesn’t tell you.
I won’t spend time on actual racing lessons as I’m assuming you know some of the basics: what a racing line is, how to brake in a straight line, and even how to stay in the slipstream. (If you don’t, then YouTube is your friend.) If you happen to be on PlayStation 4 or 5, then I would also recommend checking out the Gran Turismo series, which can help teach you the fundamentals. Once you’ve got those down, then come back.
Or jump right in! There are no rules, you free spirits out there. But in all honesty, it really will help.
1. Calibrate the Driving Accessibility
First thing’s first: Jump right into a Time Trial session to get a feel for the default controls. Pick your favorite car and select a “Very Easy” or “Easy” track to start. Once you’re loaded in and inside the cockpit, jump into the settings menu and head over to Assists.
You can start by selecting a “Driving Proficiency” that automatically determines what assists the game thinks you need. You’ll have options like traction control, a racing line, and even an automatic gearbox that shifts for you so you can offload that work to the game.
After that, focus on getting a feel for keeping your car on the racing line and efficiently moving through the track with enough momentum to improve your lap times. Keep in mind that this is just your starting point.
Eventually, I recommend turning assists off one by one as you improve. That way, you can get a sense of how the car performs and unlearn some habits that the assists will inevitably teach you. For now, just have fun and try to keep it within track limits.
Once you feel more confident on the track, let’s focus on what’s in view to optimize your general awareness.
2. Customize Your Camera for Optimal Visibility
While you’re taking your preferred machine out on the track for some practice, jump into the pause screen and cycle through the different camera options available. “TV Pod” should be the default — and it is for a reason. It gives you a good feel for how much space these bigger 2022 cars take up on the track, as well as, more importantly, how close you can get to walls, curbs, and other opponents.
Another good option is the “Nose (alt)” camera, which gives you a great idea of where your car is in relation to the track without needing to see much else. During a race, though, this leaves you at a bit of a disadvantage — by default, it doesn’t give you the option to look into your mirrors. You won’t need to worry about the racing part just yet, but if you prefer this view, it is something to consider if you want to use it long-term.
The game will alert you to cars in your general area with helpful arrow indicators that pop up on-screen. However, if you want that extra visual information, jump into the settings menu and head over to “On-Screen Display.” Here you’ll find an option to toggle the “Virtual Rear View Mirror” setting, which places a simulated rearview mirror in the middle of your screen.
Just remember to disable it if you decide on another view with the actual rear view mirrors; in my experience, it slows the frame rate if all three are activated. While you’re in this menu, set the track map to full so you can begin getting a feel for where you are on the circuit. It will really help as you familiarize yourself with each track.
You’ll get to know which specific turns or hairpins are giving you trouble, so you can either use the very handy Flashback feature (which lets you rewind) or tackle it again on the next lap if you haven’t ruined the car.
3. Make Steering More Comfortable
If you’re having a little trouble with understeer, make sure to give yourself enough time to brake. Feather that throttle gently as you exit a corner so you can fully utilize every possible inch of the track (within regulations, of course).
But if you still want a bit of extra love with steering the car, jump into the control settings and edit the default setup by first hopping into calibration. Dial the steering saturation up a tiny bit by anywhere from 1 to 5 to see if that helps; if you need more, keep increasing it.
A lot of the experience of playing F1 2022 is learning to not be afraid of these menus and customizing the experience to your liking. Hell, it’s a lot like real F1, where drivers have seats molded to their butts. So don’t sweat if you feel like you’re deviating from the default settings here. Half of racing is knowing when to stay in the lines and when to make your own calls on the most effective route for you.
4. Double Check Your Simulation Settings
Now that you’re a little more familiar with how to maneuver the car to your liking, it’s time to start a career! Well, in-game, that is. Personally, I’d recommend skipping the R&D option so you can focus on the racing side of things.
If you want to manage that, knock yourself out. But for newcomers to the series, maybe give that a go on another career later on. For now, focus on mastering the actual driving part — it’s why you’re here, right?
I would also recommend starting in F2 so you can get a feel for some of the tracks in a slightly slower car; this way, you can also get a sense of how a season will play out. Don’t worry: the season is shorter, so you’ll be racing in F1 2022 soon enough. Choose a full season and then hop into “Customize Settings.” Double-check that your assists carry over.
After you start actual practice sessions, qualifying, and racing, things will eventually feel a bit too easy. When that happens, don’t be afraid to dial up that “AI difficulty” in the Simulation Settings prior to a session. You can do so in the career mode or an individual offline race.
Find a sweet spot that’s fun but challenging enough for you that you’re not just running a Max Verstappen simulator where you’re always 20 seconds ahead of everyone else driving by yourself. Unless that’s your thing!
If it is, you might as well just run some time trials if you don’t want the actual simulated racing experience. If you enjoy pain, crank it up even more and punish yourself. If you want even more hurt, turn on “Realistic Performance” for the cars and pick a Haas or something. The world is your torture device.
Back in the Simulation Settings menu, I recommend setting the car damage to Reduced at first so you can give yourself a little wiggle room on the track. Just don’t wiggle it too much or you’ll break the front wing or damage your tires, both of which can be repaired in the pit lane.
I’d also consider setting “Race Starts” to “Assisted” because this is something the game does a really poor job of teaching players. I haven’t found an in-game tutorial that isn’t just text on a screen and that properly teaches you how to not completely mess up a race start. There’s always YouTube for that, but for now, I wouldn’t worry about it.
After your Assists and Simulation Settings are set, head over to the Weekend Structure menu and set “Practice Format” to “Single Session” and “Qualifying Format” to “Full.” Keep “Race Format” to “Feature Only,” and finally set “Session Length” to whatever preference you like. If you’re just starting out, feel free to keep it on “Short” in the interest of time. If you want more excitement and racing in general (assuming you’re not in a Verstappen simulator), then crank that up to “Medium.”
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
Now, once you’ve set that all up, dive into your first race. Feel free to use this time as your own practice session — you can restart to your heart’s content.
Once you’re in the cockpit, head over to the Session Info screen and look for the screen with the three different race programmes. I recommend starting with Track Acclimatization, as this will give you an idea of where the racing line is. The gates that show up will give you a target to try hitting so that you can string them together with enough speed.
After a few laps, you’ll have a much better idea of what kind of speed to carry into corners. More importantly, the track will begin to settle into your memory, which will help your confidence in qualifying and on race day.
Try out the other race programmes if there’s time, but if there isn’t just go ahead and restart the session on the pause screen. Do this for every race available in F2 and rinse and repeat in F1 where you’ll get more practice sessions. If you don’t feel like starting a career every time you want to try a track, there’s always time trial mode. You won’t have the race programmes, but you will have hopefully picked up the right skills to create your own and start putting lap times on the board.
A lot about learning F1 2022 comes down to your patience and willingness to put in a little extra effort by watching Sim racers on YouTube — or even watching videos of drivers explaining the best way to tackle any given track.
Don’t feel pressured to dive right into the deep end. It takes time to tackle a game like this, so try and have fun more than anything. Once you feel like you’re winning a bit too easily, bump up that AI difficulty level and begin turning off certain assists to let that muscle memory begin to settle in.
Just remember to have fun along the way. See you out there!