Driving a Formula 1 car flat-out in F1 2019 is a huge challenge.

Just go watch one of the top esports racers on YouTube and try to match their lap times. When you add rain into the mix, though, lapping the circuits gets even harder and requires a different mentality to the dry. If you’re struggling to keep the car pointed in a straight line or losing out to the AI in the wet, this guide will show you how to race in the rain.

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Everything Changes

To say that everything changes when it starts to rain in F1 is no exaggeration.

First of all, unlike your road car, Formula 1 cars have separate dry and wet weather tyres. That’s because dry tyres are “slicks” (they don’t have any grooves in them) so they can’t perform with any standing water on the track.

Don’t attempt to drive on dry tyres in the wet, it won’t end well for you, but how can you tell when it becomes too wet for dry tyres? That’s fairly simple, when the DRS is deactivated by the stewards, that’s when the intermediates become faster and the opposite applies when going from intermediates to dries. 

When going from intermediates to full wets, though, it’s a little less clear, as you can drive in heavy rain conditions on intermediates, although it isn’t as fast as the full wets.

One of the key signs is that you can see large puddles of water off line, but when it doubt, ask Jeff on your radio, he’ll tell you what the fastest tyre compound is.

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Driving Style

Grip is at a premium in wet conditions, especially at the race start.

What causes the difficulty in driving in the wet is largely down to the lack of grip at your disposal. There’s less grip when there’s water on the track and wet tyres have less outright grip than dry tyres. This means that getting the power down out of slow corners and braking is far more difficult, but you can alter your driving style to minimise your losses.

Braking zones become longer, so brake 50 or 75 metres earlier than you would in the dry and you also have to brake less harshly, as locking up is even easier. Traction zones also become longer, you have to imagine there’s an egg underneath the throttle pedal when accelerating. You can still get wheel spin even in sixth gear, so short shift up the gears to lower your revs.

What can also help your traction is going for a lower fuel and ERS mode, especially in slower areas of the circuits. You won’t lose much time for going with low modes, but you will save your tyres more and feel more confident when accelerating.

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Visibility is also at a premium in the wet, at the start of the race, it’s basically like fog unless you’re at the front of the field, so be very careful in the first few corners. You can’t win the race on lap 1, but you can definitely lose it and part of your front wing too.

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Finally, the lines you take into corners can also change, as you’re going around them more slowly than the dry. Because it’s slower, your aerodynamics don’t play as big of a part in your downforce, as the wider line is sometimes faster. Take Turn 1 in the USA for example, the wide and longer line is faster, because you spend more time on the throttle this way.

Setup Changes

You can be the best driver in the world in the wet, but if you have a bad setup, you’ll be slow. Setting the car up for the wet, is different to the dry in a number of ways, here’s a general rundown of the changes. 

Downforce and wing angles are generally 2 turns higher, as you’ll be going through corners slower than in the dry and this will help you generate downforce. The on-throttle differential needs to be more unlocked, to allow for an increase in overall traction, as you’ll be accelerating more gently anyway.

The camber and toe angles should be lower to increase your overall grip. Brake pressure should be lower to help avoid lock-ups, while tyre pressures should be higher to help keep temperatures up.

Keep in mind that you can only change the on-throttle differential and front wing angles after parc ferme rules have been enforced, so if you have dry qualifying and a wet race, you will have to compromise on setup.

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