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Intro 

In this article, Driver61 hopes to give you a full step by step guide to FFB in the new F1 2021 racing game. Whether you are new to the F1 racing platforms or have followed them from day one, this article will guide and educate you on all things force feedback.

https://www.racedepartment.com/news/f1-2021-the-game-review.106/
What is FFB?

Force Feedback (FFB) is the main sensory input from the sim to your body. It is critical to the sensation of driving that FFB is set correctly. Unfortunately, there are now many different types of wheel, wheel-base, pedals and game settings that make understanding FFB complicated.

This article aims to give you a better depth of knowledge regarding the specific settings within F1 2021 and the settings related to your particular setup. Also covered, is a section explaining your wheels specific Firmware settings which are different depending on the manufacturer of your steering wheel. 

Like all aspects of motorsport, the FFB settings may still require some adjustment to your personal preference. Variations in driving technique and style will mean that there is no ‘one size fits all’ setting that works for everyone. This will be covered in more detail below. 

If you want to skip directly to the correct way to set F1 2021 FFB Settings, then you can click here

What should correct FFB feel like? What is the best FFB?

A quick definition describes FFB as the relative rotational force provided by the steering wheel to replicate the in-game steering wheel movements. Simply put, the FFB provided by the game to your wheel, should replicate real-world turning forces. 

It is important to understand that unless you own a motion rig, air padded seats or vibration plates, the only way you will get any ‘real world’ feedback from a racing game will be through your FFB. It is therefore critical to have it set correctly.

FFB should be as close to real-life driving as possible. 

As a driver, you want to feel every kerb, every rumble strip and every bump in the road. Most importantly, however, you want to feel the weight of the car.Understeer and oversteer – Apollo Tyres

When the car turns into a bend, the weight of the car moves onto the outside wheels, as the weight transfers, the force through the steering wheel will change. When set correctly, you should be able to sense how the car is moving through the feeling in your hands, whether the car is understeering (feels light) or oversteering (sudden force) or even when the car is on its limit of grip. Pro and Esport drivers will have these settings dialled in and will always have full sensory awareness of the car’s movement.

A point to note; the drive-type wheel you use (direct drive, belt driven, gear driven) will ultimately limit the level of feel you can achieve. It is widely thought that direct drive steering wheels such as some of the Fanatec range provide a better feel than belt driven and gear driven wheels, like the Logitech and Thrustmaster’s. There is a great article written by simracingsetup.com that talks about the differences in more detail which we would recommend reading.

Steering Wheel Firmware vs F1 2021 Settings

Wheel Settings and Drivers

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the differences between firmware settings and game settings. The two things are separate and need to be configured separately. It's possible to erase wheelbase flash! Even without a hex file loaded!! —  Fanatec Forum

Firmware is your wheel’s specific settings, and act as a blanket setting for all games and sims. Your firmware is provided via dedicated programmes supplied by the manufacturer or 3rd party applications. For example, Fanatec Firmware will use a different setting programme to Thrustmaster’s Firmware. 

When you first install your wheel, often the manufacturer will provide a guide on how to set up and calibrate your wheel. Within these guides, you may have the option to control different properties of your wheel, such as FFB strength, lockout angle, dead zones, etc.

We advise that you follow the manufacturer’s guidance for adjusting your firmware settings. Please note that Firmware settings must be set before changing the in-game settings.

Please also be aware, if you are using a Logitech wheel, that Firmware settings are not transferable to XBOX or Playstation consoles and are only applicable for PC games.

Try these links for the manufacturers’ setup advice:

AccuForce – Documents and Manuals (simxperience.com)
Fanatec – Fanatec Tuning Menu Tutorial – YouTube
Thrustmaster – Thrustmaster – Technical support website
Logitech G29 + G920 – Downloads – Driving Force GT – Logitech Support + Download
Simucube – https://shop.gperformance.eu/simucube-profiles-iracing-assetto-corsa/

What is Clipping?

Clipping is where the game is outputting a larger force to your wheel than it is physically able to produce. This will create a ‘dead zone’ where the wheel will max its available output and you will lose feel at the harsher ends of force. Clipping is only apparent in F1 2021 with the entry level, gear or belt-driven wheels.

If your wheel is clipping, it will be difficult to feel when the car hits kerbs, vibrates or generates certain car movements like snap oversteer. 

To know when your wheel is clipping in F1 2021 can be quite difficult, as there is no in-game display showing the force output to the wheel. To avoid clipping, we suggest you follow our setup advice below. You can reduce the risk of clipping by reducing the ‘Vibration & Force Feedback Strength’ value in the settings menu.

Graph showing Force Output vs Wheel Output. Blue being the game output force and Red being the force given by the wheel

 

F1 2021 FFB Settings Explained

Vibration & Force Feedback – ‘On’ will give FFB, ‘Off’ will turn FFB off.

Vibration & Force Feedback Strength – this is the overall FFB strength given through the wheel. A higher number here will give a stronger effect. This setting will affect all other settings for FFB. As mentioned above, the strength of your FFB must be tuned to avoid clipping.

On Track Effects – as the name suggests, this is the FFB strength provided by bumps, undulations, and changes in road surface texture. A higher value here is a stronger effect. 

Rumble Strip Effects – again, as the name would suggest, this is the strength of FFB when driving over kerbs, rumble strips, etc. A higher value here is a stronger effect.

Off Track Effects – this is the strength of FFB when off track. For example, when on the grass, gravel or exit tarmac. A higher value here is a stronger effect.

Wheel Damper – this is the smoothing effect of the FFB in relation to the car’s tyres. FFB can sometimes feel very notchy and sharp, this setting will smooth this out and cause the wheel to feel heavier. A higher setting here will cause a heavier feeling wheel but with a smoother FFB.

Understeer Enhance – this setting will exaggerate the feeling of understeer. Understeer is noticeably felt by the steering wheel going light when turning. This setting will increase this feeling, making it easier to notice when the car is understeering.
This setting is more of a personal preference than a fixed rule and is a great way for new players to react to understeer. 

Maximum Wheel Rotation – this is the maximum amount of rotation that your steering wheel can do from lock to lock. This setting should be matched to your manufacturers setting. I.e if your wheel has a 900° lock out angle, set it to 900.

Why F1 2021 will be far more expensive for some - and three tracks will be  missing at launch · RaceFans

Driver61 Setup Guide for FFB in F1 2021

  1. Install and Calibrate your specific Firmware Settings (if available)

This is a step we recommend for all first-time users, go through the manufacturers suggested setup procedure via the links posted above. Make sure to do a full calibration and system reset to check everything is performing as should.

     2. Set your wheels specific Firmware settings using these links:

Fanatec – https://forum.fanatec.com/discussion/843/f1-2019-pc-fanatec-recommended-settings
Thrustmaster – https://support.thrustmaster.com/en/kb/107-en/
Logitech (only applicable for PC players) – Downloads – Driving Force GT – Logitech Support + Download

    3. F1 2021 FFB Settings Guide

For all setups, ‘Vibration and Force Feedback should be ON

For high end, Direct Drive wheels (Fanatec DD1, Accuforce, Simucube, etc)

  • Vibration & Force Feedback Strength: 55 to 65
  • On Track Effects: 15 to 20
  • Rumble Strip Effects: 25
  • Off Track Effects: 20
  • Wheel Damper: 0
  • Understeer Enhance: OFF

For mid-range and belt-driven wheels (Fanatec CSL, Fanatec Clubsport, Thrustmaster T300, etc)

  • Vibration & Force Feedback Strength: 70 to 80
  • On Track Effects: 20 to 25
  • Rumble Strip Effects: 30
  • Off Track Effects: 20
  • Wheel Damper: 0
  • Understeer Enhance: OFF

For entry-level wheels (Logitech range, Thrustmaster T150, etc)

  • Vibration & Force Feedback Strength: 85 to 97
  • On Track Effects: 30 to 40
  • Rumble Strip Effects: 35
  • Off Track Effects: 25
  • Wheel Damper: 15
  • Understeer Enhance: OFF

For all wheel types, Understeer Enhance is a personal preference, try testing with both On and Off

    4. Testing

Go out on track in a practice session and use a circuit you are familiar with. Take time to get used to the new settings before making personal adjustments to FFB. Main adjustments to consider: Vibration & FFB Strength, Understeer Enhance and On Track Effects.

    5. Adjustment

Like with all motorsport, changes to setup are a matter of personal preference. Every driver’s style and technique is slightly different and therefore will require some finessing. It is not unheard of for pro and E-sport’s drivers to make individual changes depending on circuit and weather conditions. Learning what each setting does and how it feels is a massive advantage over the field.

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