Pirelli confirms six different colours for tyres

2011 F1 season

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Pirelli have confirmed the colours that will be used to distinguish between their tyres.

Unlike last year, each tyre will have its own specific colour.

The different colours will be applied to the logos on the sidewalls of the tyres:

Tyre Colour
Hard Silver
Medium White
Soft Yellow
Super-soft Red
Wet Orange
Intermediate Blue

Click the image above to see each different tyre.

According to Pirelli, “The colours reflect the unique personality of each tyre, enabling viewers to tell instantly not only which is the prime and the option tyre, but also exactly which type of tyre is fitted to each car.”

Motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “We’ re very excited by the prospect of returning to Formula One for the first time in 20 years, and we’re aiming to be a proactive and colourful partner in Formula One.

“So what better way to symbolise this than a brightly coloured selection of Pirelli logos to run on the sidewalls? These will enable both live and television audiences to tell at a glance who is on what compounds, which will be vital knowledge as tyres are set to form a key part of race strategy this year.”

Pirelli tyres

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Image © Pirelli

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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115 comments on “Pirelli confirms six different colours for tyres”

  1. silver – yellow might be a little hard. Do they actually maintain a step between the tyres?
    And I keep saying they should have their curved logo on the tyres.

    1. hard= hard to see the difference between compounds

      1. Surely silver – white will be harder to differentiate!

        1. Very unlikely that you’ll see hard and medium tyres on the same weekend, so it’s not too big an issue.

        2. Given the track, they bring tyres with a step in between . For a given race it will be super soft-medium, or soft-hard plus intermediate and wet.

          1. WilliamsRBS
            20th March 2011, 4:41

            Why would not pirelli use the green color? I don’t know, i just want more range of colors thus make it easier to be differentiated. :)

    2. Carlos Santos
      18th March 2011, 15:43

      “And I keep saying they should have their curved logo on the tires.”

      I guess I agree with you but, perhaps, the “P” would look awkward, can anyone photoshop that?

      1. Here I did a not too good one -> http://twitpic.com/4as0eo
        but it gives an idea, what looks to be an advantage of curving the logo is that the logo would be bigger, making the color stand out better at speed, and also bigger brand exposure :D

    3. About the logo, seconded. A design like the one at GP3 Series last year would have been good.

      1. I like the colour coding a lot but surely they could have done something better with the White/Grey. That’s going to be impossible to tell the difference.

        1. Will the Hard and the Medium compounds ever be raced together? I thought the gap between compounds is maintained?

        2. I’m more concerned about red or yellow being confused with orange on a drying track. Surely Green would have been better?

        3. I hope they will use the silver in Abu Dhabi under flashlights, that would be nice. Singapore as well, but I think that is more a track for the mediums, isn’t it?

    4. Why curved? Straight seems to be doing what they intended it to do – to make everyone notice, comment and remember.

      1. The Pirelli logo would just look weird if it was curved. Besides, the cars will be travelling so quickly that no-one will notice the logos.

        1. I think you are right about that, when they stand still the Logo looks better like this and when they drive, it will just be a blur of colour any way.

  2. Carlos Santos
    18th March 2011, 15:39

    Can’t decide whether I like it or not!

  3. Other than the red super softs, the colours don’t really match the ‘personalities’, in my opinion
    Hard should be a darker colour, medium should be grey/silver
    Soft – orange
    Wet – green/blue
    Intermediate – yellow

    1. I disagree, there is more of a “risk” with the softer tyres and they dont last anywhere near as long. In my opinion the red/yellow symbolise “danger”, the white/silver symbolise “neutral/safe”. On screen you have to make the colours contrast as much possible, so red/yellow vs silver/white in theory should work.

      My only concern is from Wet to Soft/Super-soft, but I suppose they are more likely to go from Wet to Intermediate.

      1. i agree. However the wet tyre compounds are weird, i understand the intermediate being blue but surely the full set tyre should be of a similar tone-

        like purple???

        1. Spose it’s like using an orange football when it snows- in extreme weather condition a bright colour stands out well.

          1. great shout! all is clear now. (no pun intended)

  4. Interesting colour choice for Hard and Medium compounds… I think it may be difficult to tell white from silver in race conditions given sun glare and the speed at which cars are moving.

    1. They wont use both at one race.

    2. As OEL says, Pirelli have indicated they intend to bring tyres a stage apart so it shouldn’t be a problem.

    3. Ah, I was waiting for someone to make that amateur error in an attempt to put a downer on things. It didn’t take long, then.

      1. I find it more of a downer when someone decides to become ‘Mr Patronising’.

      2. The colour difference is still dumb though as if you start watching the race half way through and do not know what the other compound is you will still not know if the the is hard or medium. Needing context to determine the type is stupid when there are many other colours available.

        1. But you can tell whether it is the harder or softer compound, the harder one always being silver or white over the yellow and red of the softer two compounts.

          Silver and white will never be raced together, neither will red and yellow.

  5. Silver and white might be a bit difficult to distinguish from one another.

    1. Carlos Santos
      18th March 2011, 15:46

      There won’t be Silver and white in the same GP, the two compounds won’t be consecutive. Or that rule as changed to 2011?

      1. Carlos Santos
        18th March 2011, 15:51

        although is a bit silly to have different colors if we can’t tell them

      2. I don’t know if it’s a rule or just a policy Bridgestone applied but Pirelli will also only bring tyres more than a stage apart.

  6. I actually agree on their match ups, only ones I would switch are wet and intermediate.

    Yellow and white are Pirelli’s main colors, so I understand that they put them in the middle. That way, there will always be one of them at every track.

    Red – soft, fast. Hard – durable, silver.

    Yeah, I get it :)

    1. Bigbadderboom
      18th March 2011, 17:15

      Yerah, I kind of get it, it’s just a mind set thing that we will become accustomed to by association. It may take 4 or 5 races but I think it will become intuitive to the fans. It may be another feature that the casual fan finds difficult to get to grips with though.

  7. Nice – I think that’s a great solution.

  8. My only concern is that they will be difficult to spot when the car is moving. Its fine and looks great when the car is either stationary or is photographed, but because the line is not consistent, it might be difficult to see when they are moving.

    Regardless, its far better than Bridgestone’s effort

    1. Aww c’mon Sam, Are you saying that for all those years during the 80’s and 90’s you couldn’t see the yellow blur that was the Goodyear Eagle logo when the car’s were moving at speed?

      I think tis is going to be great.

      Silver and white will rarely, if ever, be used at the same race, so there’s no problem there. The tire combinations will ususally be red-white or yellow-silver, and blue an orange are sufficiently different from each other and the other colours for use in the rain.

      1. well its been a long time since the goodyears!

        Back then though, no one was looking at the tyres (as far as I remember, there were no differentiations between the softs and the hards)

    2. It was easy enough to tell with Bridgestone and that was only a thin stripe so I don’t think this will be a problem.

  9. The problem with this is, how will you tell which is fitted from onboard? Or will the green stripe persist as well?

    1. Never thought of this, good point.

    2. Presumably the logo will be on the inner tyre walls as well so you’d probably just be able to see that.

      1. It will be, it has been all through testing, and is visible on all the car launch photos.

    3. The logos are on the insides of the tyres as well so it shouldn’t be a problem. You can see them in various pictures here:

      Second Barcelona test – day 4 pictures

      Pirelli have not said they’re keeping the green stripe (no bad thing, it looked rubbish).

  10. And my favourite colour is… Orange.
    Let’s pray for an orange season!

    1. My favorite color is a blur between Orange Blue and Brown.

  11. Fred Schechter
    18th March 2011, 16:05

    So what’s it mean when we see plaid?
    Does that mean Jackie is on course?

  12. I would of thought that the two wet compounds didn’t need their own colours, as it’s easy to tell them apart from the the tread the wet and intermediate tyres have. This is probably to make the tyres easier to understand for casual fans though.

    1. you can distinguish the different treads at 200mph? wow…

  13. hmm that remind me to Power Rangers…haha

    well nice idea from Pirelli

    hope we’ll see a lot of “colours” in F1 this year…

  14. We’ll be seeing Silver and Yellow for most races anyway. What did they say they’re bringing to Australia?

    1. Hard and soft – and for the next two races as well:

      Pirelli choose tyres for first four races

      1. Cheers, Silver and Yellow it is then. I hope the Red tyres won’t be some sort of elusive wonder, locked away because they’re so insane

        1. I’ll be surprised if we see the reds before Monaco!

          1. ooooh i see the new lingo developing here… :)
            he’s got the ‘reds’ on!
            HAM has pitted and slapped on a new pair of silver boots!
            the yellows are very consistent today!

  15. I think this a good move from Pirelli. The old green sidewall system used by Bridgestone was flawed for many reasons: it was difficult to see in low light and on onboard cameras, it was tainted by accusations of ‘greenwash’, and it only helped you distinguish between ‘prime’ and ‘option’, rather than all four types of dry tyre.

    Assuming we can tell the difference between the tyres when they’re on the cars – and with HD that should be easier – this looks good all round to me.

    1. And I could never remember which was which. Was the softer tyre ‘prime’, because it went faster, or was the harder tyre ‘prime’ because it lasted longer.

      Was the softer tyre the ‘option’ because it was the option you’d choose to go fast, or was the harder tyre the ‘option’ because it was the option you had to take for the longer stint.

      It always confused me.

      This way, the softer tyre will always be the colourful one, and the harder one will be the desaturated one.

      1. Exaclty right, the softer tyre will be just the thing to spice it up and the harder just to take it safe and bring it home.

    2. Fully agree Keith. This looks nice and it is really easy to see the different colours used on track.

      I would love to see how that silver shows up in pictures from low light Australia and even more from Singapore or Abu Dhabi under the floodlights. Just remember that glittery Vettel helmet last season.

      The Bridgestone greenstripe was just about the phoniest case of greenwash there is. And people kept asking what tyres were actually used for the “primes” and “options”.

      1. I think for us geeks it’ll be better but I’m not sold on whether it will be for a casual viewer who may not remember what all the different colour codes are. It’s gerat for us as it is very specific though.

        1. I doubt the casual viewer will really give a hoot as to the difference in the compounds. I’m sure Brundle and Coulthard will make it easy for anyone receiving a UK signal though.

          1. I actually liked Bridgestone’s system. It was very simple and as long as I knew if it was the option or the prime, I wasn’t concerned whether it was a medium, hard, soft or super-soft tyre. This should be good too, althought I don’t like the colours! :P

          2. I think a casual viewer would want to know if they were switching from option to prime more than the specific compound which is why I think Bridgestone’s system was easier. Personally, I’ll prefer Pirelli (as long as the colours stand out) as it gives me more information but for others who aren’t as interested in F1 it might be difficult.

          3. @Steph Yes, but it’s going to take me some time to get used to. So many colours! :P

  16. JackHammer92
    18th March 2011, 16:31

    The new system is good, but I do think it would be better if they had also painted a ring around each tyre with the colour to make the tyre choice clearer from more angles (T-cam for example)

    1. Why? The same logos will be visible on the inside walls of the tyres too.

  17. I like it, it is going to be easier to distinguish between the compounds that way and the colours are different enough to be visibly different at full speed.

  18. I like it. It seems like a good idea. Though i think that the ring the tyres had in 2010 were good too, to distinguish the soft from the hard compound. I would like that introduced as well, so the softest compound has a ring around the edges in the same colour as the writing, and then with the harder compound not having those stripes. I think that would be the easiest way to see what tyres they are on.

  19. Pirellis were always the school boys choice when i was a t’lad. Gripping stuff !

  20. I think the silver should be green but other than they they’re not bad.

    I’ll miss the green rings of Bridgestone but these will be far easier to identify.

    1. I think the trouble with green is, in normal light it might be often mistaken for blue. And for colourblind people they cannot see weather it is red or green.

      1. Ahh – thanks BasCB for acknowledging us colour-deficients : ) I’m glad they’ve chosen the colours they have, blue and green might indeed have been confusing for me!

  21. What happened with the green color? They’re using it at testing.

  22. It’s just a guess, but maybe Pirelli will use green for testing tyres (the friday-extra tyres).

  23. I feel the intermediate tyres should have come before the wets in order of hardness.

  24. SennaNmbr1 (@)
    18th March 2011, 17:48

    What a superb idea!!

  25. Oh, great – it’s the iTire. Peach, plum, bondi blue, rose, mauve…

  26. Somehow the colouring of the tyres creates cheap, artificial racing. I’m not sure how yet, give me a couple of minutes.


    The super-softs will look great on the Ferrari and match the McLarens and Renaults very well! I wonder if the teams will choose for their cars to be photographed with the “correct” complimentary colour for their official photos!

  27. What are the chances Pirelli tried to make all teams happy(as much as possible in current situation). Most teams and especially drivers are complaining and seem to be quite unhappy with new tyres.

    Red= Ferrari
    Yellow = Renault, Lotus Racing
    Silver = Mclaren, Mercedes
    Blue = Redbull, Williams
    Orange = Force India
    White = Sauber

    Good effort by Pirelli. Liking it better than the boring green of Bridgestone.

    1. Think that might be looking into it a little bit too much ;)

      But a race like that would be bloody phenomenal! :D

      I liked the Bridgestone green…thought it sat nice against the Mercedes GP Petronas green.

  28. Well I guess it kinda makes sense when you look at it for a while. At least this gives us time to memorise them. However, we already know the tyres for the next couple of months anyways.

  29. Looks great. Anything but those ‘environmentally friendly yeah right’ green stripes.

    1. lol, cotd!!!

  30. Yellow white and silver will be hard to distinguish on TV.

    1. The biggest contrast you will have will be Silver to Yellow…given the tyres compound choices are always at least one step apart.

  31. Yellow, white and silver may be hard to distinguish if they were all being used at once yeah……but we’re only ever gonna have two to distinguish between if it’s a dry race aren’t we? Surely seeing the difference between any two types will become very easy once it’s on tv – probably because most of the field will be on the same compound at the same time anyway (give or take) and the commentators will keep us informed! It will come easily after a few sessions.

  32. I believe there will always be a 2 step gap, so it’s always going to be either:

    Silver (Hard) & Yellow (Soft)


    White (Medium) & Red (Super Soft)

    So there should never be any confusion. Also you always easily see which compounds are being used at each race.

  33. No more green stripe, YESYESYESYES!.

  34. UKfanatic (@)
    18th March 2011, 23:09

    wet and intemediates are easy to spot by the thread of the tyre so i think they should use one of those colour blue or orange for the medium and soft cause white and silver are the same

  35. Well this was an excellent idea.


    It was!
    Just sayin…

  36. White and silver are going to be difficult to tell apart at races where the hards and mediums are on hand. Perhaps Prielli should swap the mediums and the wets since it’s unlikely that drivers will be using wet and dry tyres in the same race. That way, the mediums are orange and the wets are white, making it easier to tell them apart when the race is completely dry and the hard and medium compounds get used.

    1. Medium and hard tyres won’t be used at the same race. Pirelli are sticking to the step apart rule.

  37. This is going to sound like a werid analogy, but looking at the tyres, I’m reminded of a shoulder of pork. The pork usually has a thin layer of fat across the top that is clearly distinct from the meat. Without the fat, the meat has no flavour. And looking at the pictures of the tyres, you can clearly see a thin layer of rubber around the top side that is slightly separate from the rest of the rubber. Without the layer of rubber, the tyre has no grip. Just as the fat will melt when exposed to high temperature, so to will the layer of rubber when the driver pushes.

    See, I told you it would be a weird analogy. But it’s oddly fitting.

    1. Well, I got hungry reading it, if that helps?

    2. While some are still chewing away at the fat the wiser ones will be looking for another shoulder of pork.

      1. the wiser ones will be looking for another shoulder of pork.

        I read that as a pit stop for fresh tyres.

      2. While some are still chewing away at the fat the wiser ones will be looking for another shoulder of pork.

        You clearly are not a cook.

  38. it’s so confusing!!

  39. they should replace the silver or white logo with green – hard to differentiate during the race.

    1. But Pirelli are keeping Bridgestone’s two-step policy. So it will either be hards and softs (silver and yellow), or mediums and super-softs (white and red). Because Pirelli wo’t be bringing mediums and hards (white and silver) to any of the races, there is no danger of confusion.

      1. They may if it is necessary.

  40. We Want Turbos
    19th March 2011, 9:16

    Surely using different coloured rubber would be an easier to spot solution… If that’s possible?

    1. You mean… like yellow tyres?

      Ermm….I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  41. At racing speed it will be tough to distinguish between Silver & White. They could have gone for Green or Brown.

    1. I don’t think that brown would show up at all… besides it’s not really a racing colour.

  42. Somehow I don’t see the point of having four different colours for dry weather tyres. Don’t get me wrong, it’s easier for us fanatics to keep track of what compound is used at which race. But as far as each weekend is concerned, you only have a prime and an option tyre.

    Good move by Pirelli to use different colours for inters and full wets though. It’ll be easier to keep track of who’s using what tyre instead of waiting for the car to slow down enough so we can see the tread pattern.

    1. The average TV viewer wouldn’t know the difference between a compound and a cow pie. Maybe Pirelli trying to educate them and it does look pretty cool.

      I tend to think in terms of primes and options too. By the time Q3 rolls around we all sort of know what the tyres are capable of. P or O is all most of us need to know.

  43. mmm, i know, lets make F1 more complicated to follow for newbies, this and the absolutely daft DRS system is just going to put people off in the first 10 minutes. Is this F1 or are we going to be watching Indycar? DRS would be fine if in the drivers hands to use whenever/however they see fit but having it limited to certain parts of the track and within a certain distance from another car is plain silly IMO.

    1. Unfortunately, that’s true. If I had to keep track of differently coloured tyres, a KERS graphic and a “DRS armed” graphic the first time I watched a race, I don’t think I’dve tuned in again. Unnecessary complexity is a direction F1 should avoid, especially with falling attendance at grands prix across the world.

  44. It should have been like this:

    Hard -Red
    Soft -Yellow
    Wet -Blue

    1. Why?

      1. Mouse_Nightshirt
        19th March 2011, 15:53

        To be honest, green and blue would have made sense for intermediate and wet, but I suspect there wouldn’t be enough contrast between the colours to differentiate them in dull, damp conditions.

  45. Mouse_Nightshirt
    19th March 2011, 15:53

    Must say I find the intermediate tread fascinating.

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