- / : Press left or right on the direction pad to steer the car counter-clockwise or clockwise respectively. Steering can be accomplished by holding a direction down, or tapping a direction. A single tap turns the car 22.5° (see the note about steering below).
- : When driving a turbo-capable car, press and hold up to engage the turbo drive of your engine. You must be at full speed in high gear to engage turbo.
- : Press and hold A to accelerate in low gear.
- : Press and hold B to accelerate in high gear. If you do not accelerate in low gear first, acceleration in high gear will be extremely slow.
- + : Press both buttons together to engage the brakes.
- : Press the Start button to pause the game.
- : Used to change the selection in menus.
Note about steering
Understanding how the steering works in Famicom Grand Prix F1 Race is crucial to winning races. A single press of either left or right will turn the car exactly 22.5°, or a quarter or a right angle. This means that two taps will turn the car 45°, and four taps will turn the car an entire 90°. In general, it is not recommended that you hold the direction pad down when attempting to turn. Instead, you should tap the direction the required number of times. Even if you have to take a hairpin turn and change your direction 180°, you should tap the control pad eight times to ensure that you take the turn exactly rather than over-steering and driving off the track. It takes some practice to get used to, but once you get a feel for it, you should be able to turn with ease.
Understanding how cars work in FGP F1 Race is the key to winning races and the foundation of your strategy. You begin the game with no cars, and you must purchase at least one to race. Cars have three different key statistics:
- Engine: The engine of a car determines both how fast it can go, and how much fuel it consumes. The faster an engine is capable of traveling, the faster it burns through the gas in your cars tank. Some engines are capable of Turbo, and some are not. Those that car can engage turbo at top speed for a boost of acceleration, but also at a higher consumption rate of fuel.
- Body: The body of the car determines how much damage it can sustain before it is no longer drivable. Cars with stronger bodies are more expensive than other cars with similar engines. As a car's body deteriorates through collisions, they take longer and longer to resume control over, until ultimately the car is forced out of the race.
- Tires: The quality of a car's tires determines how well it can take a sharp turn. At the start of the race, all tires begin at peak performance. Throughout the race, tires begin to wear. The poorer the tire's quality, the faster it wears down. Tires wear down when you drive at higher speeds, turn very sharply or rapidly, or drive off the track. As the tires wear down, control over the car will begin to decrease, and the car will have a higher tendency to skid off the road. Additionally, some tires are rated for driving under wet conditions.
Throughout the race, you can track the performance of these three factors by monitoring the three meters in the lower left corner of the screen (in the case of the engine, the gas consumption). Whenever these meters get low, you should consider driving the car to the pit. In the pit, a team will replace the tires, refuel the car, and restore any damage done to the body. Driving into the pit will take some time, and allow your opponents to catch up, but failure to do so in a timely manner can cause you to lose control over the car, or even worse, to become disqualified for crashing or running out of gas.
The color of your car (and only your car) indicates the quality of your tires. Blue cars have tires that wear quickly. Yellow cars have tires that wear an average amount. Red cars have tires that wear slowly. Green cars have tires that are rated for wet driving conditions.
In every race, you must concern yourself with the position and placement of other cars around the track. You must come in at least sixth place in order to qualify to go on to the next race. On the track, there are cars of many other colors which you must race against, though not all of them are direct competitors. The most special car of all is the purple car. This car is your rival. No matter what position you are in the race, the purple car will generally slow down or speed up to give you a challenge. It will never, however, outperform the lead flashing car. This is the car that remains in first place throughout every race unless you pass it. You'll have to drive at top performance at take turns exceptionally well in order to pass the flashing car and take first place.
Among the other race cars on the track, you will generally see many blue-green cars, and a couple of orange cars. These cars are drones which make up the bottom of the pack, and are present as obstacles which you must avoid if you are doing particularly well. While you cannot destroy the main race cars, it is possible to destroy drones by crashing into them twice. If you do this, they will spin out and be removed from the race. An oil slick will be placed on the track where you last collided with them. If you drive over this slick, you will temporarily lose control over your car. While there is no penalty for destroying cars in Level 1, there is a 100, 500, and 1000 dollar penalty for destroying drones in Levels 2, 3, and 4 respectively.