The highly anticipated next F1 game from Codemasters is nearly upon us, and it's the first Codemasters game published by EA after they officially acquired the legendary racing developer earlier this year. But how well does it perform? This year's entry includes official ray tracing support, so what kind of hardware is needed to play F1 2021 at its best? We take a look at the PC performance benchmarks for F1 2021...

First of all, in this PC performance benchmark article for F1 2021, we benchmark a range of graphics cards going from the higher-end RTX 3070, the recommended GPU for ray tracing; as well as the RTX 2060, the minimum required GPU for ray tracing; the mid-range GTX 1060; and to the lower-end R9 380 which is close to the minimum required GPU (an R9 280) for playing F1 2021 without ray tracing.

Then we go through the FPS test results of each graphics card running at 1080p, 1440p and 4K screen resolutions. From there we can see the performance of the minimum and recommended system requirement graphics cards and consider how well optimized F1 2021 really is.

F1 2021 does include its own benchmarking tool, and in our tests we found this to be pretty representative of actual performance in-game. However, different tracks can provide varying results, so we chose the Monaco circuit as in our tests it seemed to be one of the most demanding maps of the lineup, so you can assume performance will slightly improve on other tracks.

We also tested the difference between Clear and Wet weather to see if there was much of a difference (with and without ray tracing enabled), and to our surprise Wet weather actually improved FPS. Digging into it more it's likely this is due to the Wet weather reducing visibility and therefore the demand on the graphics card.

The graphics setting presets available in F1 2021 include Ultra Low, Low, Medium, High, and Ultra High, with the latter automatically enabling ray tracing on RT-capable GPUs. So in our tests we disabled ray tracing when selecting this option for the most consistent benchmark runs. The presets also don't affect Anisotropic Filtering or Anti-Aliasing Quality, so we set them to 4x and TAA respectively across all hardware for the most consistency.

With that in mind, let's jump into the PC performance benchmarks for F1 2021...

F1 2021 PC Graphics Settings

Check your PC can run F1 2021 system requirements

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F1 2021 non-ray tracing specs:

F1 2021 minimum system requirements

F1 2021 recommended system requirements

F1 2021 ray tracing specs:

F1 2021 minimum system requirements

F1 2021 recommended system requirements

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F1 2021 RTX 3070 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3070 Aorus Master | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in F1 2021 @ 1080p

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 204.7 182.5 171.6 167.5 155.6
Min FPS 190.4 162.2 149.8 145.1 131.6
Max FPS 219.4 209.6 195.4 194.9 178
1% Low FPS 165.8 115.1 100.2 94.7 89.5
0.1% Low FPS 142 87.6 84.1 76.5 78.2

The FPS performance of the RTX 3070 in F1 2021 at 1080p is really good, though as you will see below in the 1440p results and with the RTX 2060 at 1080p, it seems there's a system bottleneck happening here that prevents the game from performing better than 200fps. Either way, the RTX 3070 is perfect for playing F1 2021 at 1080p on Ultra High graphics settings.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in F1 2021 @ 1440p

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 202.2 182.3 169.6 165.1 148.2
Min FPS 188.3 158.6 147.7 146.7 123.8
Max FPS 217.1 211.7 195.7 195.5 176
1% Low FPS 165.6 116.8 97.2 94.3 86.3
0.1% Low FPS 99.8 86.8 84.5 83.4 65.4

At 1440p, the FPS performance of the RTX 3070 in F1 2021 is still really good, once again there seems to be a bottleneck on the lower graphics settings but it still achieves well above 60fps even on Ultra High graphics. Overall, this card is perfect for playing F1 2021 at 1440p on Ultra High graphics settings.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in F1 2021 @ 4K

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 151 143 132.5 109.1 82.7
Min FPS 137.3 128.3 118.9 98.1 70.7
Max FPS 176.3 168.1 155 129.7 103.9
1% Low FPS 122 100.2 89.9 72.7 56
0.1% Low FPS 67.8 43.7 15.8 62.1 14.9

Finally at 4K, the RTX 3070's FPS performance in F1 2021 is again really good, delivering more than 60fps on Ultra High graphics settings.

Looking over the results above the RTX 3070 is perfectly suitable for playing F1 2021 at 1080p, 1440p, and even 4K on the Ultra High graphics settings and still leaving a little room for ray tracing and some other improvements.

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F1 2021 RTX 2060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia PNY GeForce RTX 2060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 in F1 2021 @ 1080p

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 202.5 173.8 170.6 156.8 124.5
Min FPS 186.2 153.4 139.8 139.7 102.4
Max FPS 217.5 208.4 204.8 185.7 156.1
1% Low FPS 166 101.7 94.7 90.6 71.1
0.1% Low FPS 145.2 68.7 55.7 74.7 50.3

The FPS performance of the RTX 2060 at 1080p in F1 2021 is really good. Here you can see the bottleneck again, but still we see frame rates well above 60fps even on the Ultra High graphics settings, making this card perfect for playing F1 2021 at 1080p on Ultra High graphics.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 in F1 2021 @ 1440p

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 152.6 143.2 133.5 112.8 87.2
Min FPS 139.1 129.5 119.8 100.4 72.5
Max FPS 174.4 163.1 153.6 133.9 111.1
1% Low FPS 123 90.2 84.8 72 39.6
0.1% Low FPS 97.7 74.5 58.1 54.6 28.8

Moving onto 1440p, the RTX 2060's FPS performance in F1 2021 is still really good, achieving above 60fps even on the Max graphics settings. The RTX 2060 is then perfect for playing F1 2021 at 1440p on Ultra High graphics settings.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 in F1 2021 @ 4K

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 78.4 74.4 70.4 60.8 46.3
Min FPS 70.9 67.1 64.2 54.4 39.2
Max FPS 91.9 87.6 82.5 73.2 59.9
1% Low FPS 66.5 57.8 53.9 45.1 26.1
0.1% Low FPS 12.4 14 14 13.3 11.3

At 4K in F1 2021 the RTX 2060 begins to struggle a bit, but the FPS performance is still pretty good. Although Ultra High is not great, it is still playable but not ideal. Whereas the High graphics setting or lower achieves decent 60fps or above frame rates. Although at this resolution the 0.1% FPS is really low and can result in some stuttering during gameplay.

Overall, the RTX 2060 is perfectly suitable for playing F1 2021 at 1080p and 1440p resolutions on Ultra High graphics settings. It is still capable of playing F1 2021 at 4K though it is recommended to stick to High settings or lower, and there are some stuttering issues unfortunately.

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F1 2021 GTX 1060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia MSI GeForce GTX 1060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 in F1 2021 @ 1080p

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 160.5 151.4 137.8 111.2 83.9
Min FPS 143.6 135.5 122.7 90.1 69.6
Max FPS 182.4 176.1 160.5 136.6 110.2
1% Low FPS 127.4 97.5 87.3 71.1 56.4
0.1% Low FPS 90 76.1 74 63.8 26.6

The FPS performance of the GTX 1060 at 1080p in F1 2021 is actually pretty good. Considering the recommended GPU for F1 2021 is a GTX 1660 Ti, this seems to be pretty high and actually the 1060 manages it pretty well, achieving more than 60fps even on Ultra High graphics settings. However, there is a little stuttering in the 0.1% Low FPS when set to Ultra High graphics. Overall though, the GTX 1060 is perfect for playing F1 2021 at 1080p on Ultra High or High graphics settings.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 in F1 2021 @ 1440p

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 101.6 98.7 91.1 75.9 57.7
Min FPS 91.1 88.8 82 63.5 48.8
Max FPS 118.9 115.6 107.4 92.8 74.9
1% Low FPS 84.9 73.7 66.1 56.6 41.4
0.1% Low FPS 79.6 62 57.7 39 22.8

At 1440p, the GTX 1060's FPS performance in F1 2021 is still pretty good, although it just dips below 60fps on Ultra High settings but is still certainly playable at this frame rate. The GTX 1060 then is perfect for playing F1 2021 at 1440p on Ultra High or High graphics settings.

Average FPS for Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 in F1 2021 @ 4K

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 50.6 49.2 46.4 40.4 30.4
Min FPS 46 44.5 42.1 35.9 26.8
Max FPS 59.8 58.7 54.9 49 38.9
1% Low FPS 44.5 41.1 38.6 33.6 19.6
0.1% Low FPS 12.1 11.8 11.6 10.4 9.1

At 4K the GTX 1060's FPS performance begins to struggle a bit in F1 2021, delivering below 60fps across the board and some stuttering issues throughout. However, it is still playable and enjoyable on lower graphics settings, but is not recommended for Ultra High or even High.

Overall, the GTX 1060 is perfect for playing F1 2021 at 1080p on Ultra High graphics settings, and on Ultra High/High graphics settings at 1440p depending on your preference. At 4K it is still playable, but not ideal, and it will be down to personal preference at that point.

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F1 2021 R9 380 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on AMD MSI Radeon R9 380 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Average FPS for AMD Radeon R9 380 in F1 2021 @ 1080p

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 95.7 80.8 69.2 51.3 34.5
Min FPS 82.9 65.4 56.7 37.5 27.2
Max FPS 113.7 102.7 85.7 68.8 47.7
1% Low FPS 77.5 47.8 34.5 25.4 17.6
0.1% Low FPS 60.2 29.6 27.6 13.1 9.6

The R9 380's FPS performance at 1080p in F1 2021 is okay. This is close to the minimum required GPU and so does well up until High/Ultra High graphics settings where it achieves less than 60fps performance. However, it is still perfect for playing up until Medium settings.

Average FPS for AMD Radeon R9 380 in F1 2021 @ 1440p

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 66.2 56.1 48.8 38.9 27.8
Min FPS 57.5 46.2 43.1 29.6 21.5
Max FPS 79 73.5 58.6 48 36.6
1% Low FPS 54.7 34.1 30.5 21.8 15.4
0.1% Low FPS 37.9 15.5 13.9 13.2 10.2

The FPS performance of the R9 380 in F1 2021 at 1440p is not too great, though is still playable on Ultra Low and even up to Medium settings depending on your preference. Although anything above Ultra Low does introduce some stuttering, but it is not unplayable.

Average FPS for AMD Radeon R9 380 in F1 2021 @ 1440p

F1 2021 Ultra Low Low Medium High Ultra High
Average FPS 31 24.5 22 21.2 12.8
Min FPS 22.8 19.3 17.9 14.9 10.2
Max FPS 36.5 30.3 26.6 25.9 16.4
1% Low FPS 23.2 17.2 17.2 11.7 6
0.1% Low FPS 8 7.2 6.8 6 4.7

Finally at 4K the R9 380's FPS performance in F1 2021 is not great. It's still playable on Ultra Low graphics settings, but nowhere near ideal for this kind of racing game, and anything above Ultra Low is unplayable in our opinion.

Overall though, the R9 380 is perfectly suitable for playing F1 2021 at 1080p on Medium settings or lower (or even High if you're okay with it). It is also suitable for playing at 1440p on lower settings like Ultra Low-Medium depending on your preference. At 4K though the frame rates are less than ideal, and are simply unplayable on any graphics settings higher than Ultra Low.

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Conclusion

Looking at all the results above, F1 2021 is a fairly well optimized game, even allowing mid-range hardware like the GTX 1060 to perform well at resolutions it is not targeted at like 1440p. Although there are some stuttering issues on higher graphics settings with lower-end hardware, it is not a dealbreaker and certainly not unplayable.

Low-end hardware like the R9 380 can also play F1 2021 relatively well at 1080p resolution, achieving decent frame rates up to and including Medium graphics settings. High is still playable, but not ideal, and Ultra High is worse but still not unplayable.

In order to play F1 2021 at its best though you will need some pretty recent hardware like the RTX 20 series, and even then maybe something more powerful if you want to get true 4K Ultra High performance performance. Ray tracing is also pretty demanding and will require even better hardware to play at those settings, something like the RTX 3070.

There is Nvidia DLSS support which will certainly help if you want to enable ray tracing at higher resolutions and graphics settings, though it seems like you can't enable the quality and is instead used just as an anti-aliasing method, but overall improves performance considerably compared to TAA.

As always, we welcome any and all feedback from you guys as well, with your experience of hardware configurations and FPS performance/quality settings. That way we can all better gauge how well our systems will be able to run F1 2021.