F1 2021 plays great with a wheel, once it is configured properly. The default force feedback for the Thrustmaster T248 isn't terrible, but it makes the wheel fairly heavy and lifeless. This is easy to fix by adjusting a few settings. The game still doesn't set the steering angle properly, so this needs to be set manually on the wheel for the game to be playable.
A lot of people mistakenly believe that maximizing the force feedback settings means the force feedback is more "realistic." The true purpose of the force feedback is to give you information about the track surface and how much grip the tires have. In real life, this would be felt through g-forces and the shaking of the car. If you raise the settings too high, the wheel just maxes out. At that point, you no longer get any information about the track or car; the wheel just feels heavy all the time.
In this guide, we will look at the settings you need to set in-game, on the wheel and in the Thrustmaster Control Panel, when playing on PC, to improve the force feedback.
The first thing that needs to be fixed is the steering angle. By default, F1 2021 uses the full rotation of your wheel, which is far too much for an F1 car. The steering angle should only be 360°, meaning you can turn it 180° to the left and 180° to the right.
FORCE at 4 bars with FFB at 1 creates a perfectly linear force feedback response with no clipping, which is the ideal for any racing game.
|TM Control Panel Setting||Value|
|Overall Strength of all forces||65%|
|Auto-Center||by the game|
Rotation and Overall Strength are identical to the ROT and FORCE wheel settings, respectively. Changing it in one place overwrites the other. I recommend changing these on the wheel and ignoring the values in the Thrustmaster Control Panel.
Spring is not used by F1 2021, so the value actually doesn't matter. Some games require Spring to be on for their force feedback to work, so I keep it at 100% as a general rule.
Damper is used for the in-game Wheel Damper setting. This adds weight to the wheel when the car is moving slowly. Without this, the wheel feels very light in slow corners, which is quite unnatural. Since it is commonly suggested to set Damper to 0, make sure this is on.
BOOST should always be turned off. For an in-depth look as to why, see my BOOST Force Feedback Analysis.
F1 2021 Settings
In Game Options > Settings > Controls, Vibration & Force Feedback > Thrustmaster T248 > Calibration:
You can raise the Steering Linearity to make the wheel less sensitive when the wheel is centered. This can help if you find the steering a little too sensitive on the straights.
You may also want to raise the Brake and Throttle Linearity, which can help create smoother pedal inputs by lowering the sensitivity of the pedals at the beginning of the pedal travel.
In Game Options > Settings > Controls, Vibration & Force Feedback > Thrustmaster T248 > Vibration & Force Feedback:
|Vibration & Force Feedback||On|
|Vibration & Force Feedback Strength||75-80|
|On Track Effects||12|
|Off Track Effects||15|
Vibration & Force Feedback Strength is the overall strength of the force feedback. Raising it too much starts to overwhelm the wheel, making the wheel feel heavy and lifeless. I find 75-80 works best, depending on the track. This also scales the vibration effects, so if you change this too much, you will have to adjust the vibration effects to compensate.
On Track Effects is the vibrations felt based on the track surface. This is quite a strong effect, so I lowered this a lot. You could increase this if you like.
Rumblestrip Effects is the vibration felt when running over a kerb.
Off Track Effects is the vibration felt when you leave the track. This is also quite strong, even with a low value.
Wheel Damper gives weight to the wheel when the car is slow. This is felt mostly in slow-speed corners. Without this, the wheel goes weightless, which feels strange. Even a small amount of damper gives enough weight to feel more natural, without being too strong.
Understeer Enhance lightens the wheel when you start to understeer. I'm not a big fan of this, but that is personal preference. Feel free to turn this on if you like it.
F1 2021 plays great once you get the steering angle and force feedback set properly. Like its predecessors, it doesn't have the most amazing force feedback, but it works and once I'm in a race, I don't even think about it.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.