F1 2018: Five (hopefully) useful career mode tips
Just like in real life, F1 2018 can deliver soaring highs but it can also make you want to curl up in a ball for a month. Being first for an entire race only for a back-marker to nudge you into a barrier? It can happen.
F1 2018's career mode really can be unforgiving and also quite daunting to newbies. How much practice should I get before a big race? What do I need to research first? Is Jeff always right?
Much of the Codemasters-developed game will provide answers when you put in the effort, because it is, after all, meant to be realistic. But DriveTribe is here to help to stop you from making the same mistakes we did, with the following five career mode-specific tips.
1) Pick one of the weaker teams
It is tempting to try to emulate Lewis Hamilton or Sebastien Vettel in their respective Mercedes and Ferrari beasts, but in doing so the onus is on you to do well. And as a newbie with sausage fingers and mash potato hands, that may prove too difficult.
Instead, consider the likes of Toro Rosso, Williams, McLaren, Sauber or Force India. Because although it will be difficult to finish first, your team has much lower expectations so finishing higher up in the rankings will give you a confidence boost.
It may not be you even win in the first year of the career mode for the weaker teams, but that is no issue. Use the time to research useful stuff, learn each circuit, practice your racing lines and work up to a high level of driving consistency.
Then show the world you can do the F1 equivalent of Leicester winning the Premier League.
2) Spend your R&D points wisely
Before you chuck a load of your hard-earned research and development points at some ill-thought out gain, consider your choices. One sensible option is to strengthen your weakest element, so for Force India that would be the chassis and aerodynamics.
But avoid sinking everything into one area because what works at one circuit may not be so effective at another. A well-rounded car with a good driver will work best in the long run.
Also worth doing, especially if you know you are going to be playing the F1 2018 career mode for a while, is to research into Efficiency and Quality Control. Reducing the chance your research will fail is especially useful.
3) Complete every session
In most racing games, you probably skip the qualifying session. But in F1 2018, that is a bad idea because you get R&D points from each one. The more R&D points you have, the quicker you can make your car superior. Or in the case of Williams, somewhat competitive.
It also is useful for newbies because it will help you learn how your car handles, the layout of each circuit and other useful stuff such as the difference between an all-out assault for qualifying and sparing your tyres.
Also refrain from ignoring Jeff, who provides feedback on what is going on with your car and the race in general. As annoying as he can be from time to time, he is almost always right. Although if you do it once you are given a gamer achievement.
With the practive and qualifying stuff behind you, consider the race length. While 25 per cent is good for getting through a season more quickly, 50 per cent or more gives you more time to practice and a lot can happen over the course of a longer session
4) Be tactical with grid penalties
Because of the rules of Formula One and because a season of racing can be gruelling on your car, you may have to order in fresh parts. Do so and you will be hit with a grid penalty. These can be unavoidable so it is best to come up with a strategy for when to endure them.
For those who are semi-competitive, option one is to take your grid penalty at a circuit you really struggle with. Coming last on a circuit you would only come 18th makes sense.
You can also do the opposite. If you know you can annihilate everyone at a particular track, take on the grid penalty knowing your superior skills/car/luck will make up the time. Going this route does, of course, have the possibility of failure unlike option one.
5) Invest time into the Time Trial mode
While it is possible to use the Career Mode's free practice sessions, it will wear down your engine and other components, which will mean spending more R&D points on Reliability instead of other more useful stuff.
You are best off going into the Time Trial mode, where you can lap each circuit for as long as you like and make use of the flashback feature (although it can be buggy) to master a particular section. Only when you get confident in your car and know a circuit off by heart will you start to really speed up.
In terms of driving assists, you can opt to turn everything off and learn the hard way. But then being a little selective (automatic gears, for instance) only comes at the expense of a slight potential speed gain.
Whether you use a controller or steering wheel can also impact your decision. If you struggle with the correct braking pressure when using a trigger button, a much less intuitive method than proper racing pedals, give ABS a shot to avoid lock-ups.
Having a good car setup for each circuit makes a big difference, too. Scour the internet and see what skilled YouTubers, such as Veloce Limitless, are using. Some will tell you their exact setup, which you can borrow and then, later, fine-tune.