Pirelli change tyre markings for Malaysia and China

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Pirelli tyres, Renault, Sepang, 2011

Pirelli have altered the markings on their tyres to make it easier to tell the different between the two.

For the next two races in Malaysia and China they have added a gold stripe to the sidewall of the soft tyres (see picture). These will continue to feature yellow lettering.

Pirelli describe this as an “interim solution”. A spokesperson added: “From Turkey onwards we will have a more permanent version of increasing the colours on the tyres so that they become more visible.”

The teams will have the option of running experimental tyres during practice on Friday. These tyres will have no markings.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “This tyre represents a new philosophy in the compounding and it will be interesting to hear the teams’ feedback.

“Generally speaking it’s a more durable tyre but we need to be careful not to be too conservative: the emphasis is still firmly on entertainment and putting on a great show for the crowds.”

Each team will receive two sets of the tyres which they can use during Friday’s sessions only.

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    74 comments on “Pirelli change tyre markings for Malaysia and China”

    1. I think the best solution would be to pain the whole sidewall in the colour for that compound. Like they do with red sidewalls on the soft tyres in Indycar.

      1. I like that solution as well. It won’t be hard to tell at all, and it will avoid the small problems with the bridgestone green ring from last year.

        1. Actually I had hoped for such a “Indycar solution” from the beginning on.

      2. Berger’s Benetton B186 at Detroit in 1986 should be a warning to you on that one. Check the “Technicolour Pirelli’s” thread in the Forum.

        1. Oh yes, Byrne’s B186 with 1400 bhp 1.5L BMW turbo. Berger said, “… you felt like you were sitting on a rocket.”

        2. Ah, the Detroit GP. Only 5 minutes away from my house. It wasn’t an exciting track at all, but it was one of the few (very few) good things the city had…

      3. Yes… please be coloured sidewalls! please be coloured sidewalls…

      4. IIRC, the whole sidewall isn’t painted in Indycar, it’s just a thick stripe.

        1. Yer I noticed that actually after I googled for an image of them, but having the same thick stripe in F1 would be much better than what we have now.

      5. They should just fill the areas between the “Pirelli” and “P Zero” logos with a stripe of the corresponding colour. Pirelli get to keep their prominent branding, and we get to see which compound is being used.

        1. Autosport seem to be reporting that this is what will happen from Turkey onwards.

          1. Found the article, thanks. I hope it works as well as I think it will.

          2. @ajokay

            told you that Pirelli should have changed the tyre markings :D


    2. Still not noticeable as the Bridgestone’s but it should work. Better than coloured letters anyway. What idiot come up with that?

      1. Good Year…circa 1993. ;)

        1. Well thats because they changed size in 1993.

      2. I actually really like that, it allowed me to notice the soft tyre immediately. And no, I don’t have HD or even flat-screen TV.

      3. A guy who’s got taste, rather than just slappng a garish green line on the side!

    3. “putting on a great show for the crowds.”

      Yawn, yawn, jez, just leave the ‘show’ thing alone.

      1. Well that is the idea, more tyre degradation makes for a better show. What would you prefer tyres that lasted the whole race like Bridgestone were obsessed over?

        1. Yes, but surely a better choice of word would be making the sport better? Not the naff ‘show’. Heck, even ‘more entertaining would be a better phrase by now.

        2. @RIISE

          Actually I’d love to see them racing on one set of tyres. If you really think about it pit stops and different tyre compounds are just the gimmick, invented to improve the show.


          We got to the point that every time someone mentions “the show”, we have this allergic reaction, not thinking what he actually means by that.

          I agree that this is an annoying and overused phrase. It is our new “for sure”. However when some people talk about improving the show, they really mean the good of the sport, not just gimmicks.

          1. ‘Making tyres that result in more exciting racing, for racing fans’.

            Saying ‘the show’is just lazy.

            PS the racing last year was some of the best in the last 5 years so to me it don’t matter too much how long the tires last.

          2. James Brickles
            7th April 2011, 17:34

            Sauber may actually be able to race on one set of tyres if Perez’s conservation is anything to go by ;)

    4. So … they’re going to have both markings? That’s a bit werid.

      But it will look awesome on the Renault.

      1. Haha yeah colour co-ordinated bliss right there for them.

        1. If only Total stop ruining it…

          1. Oops, there should have been a “would” in there somewhere.

      2. Plus drivers in gold suits!!!
        Wooo-Hooo!!! No all they need is a large gold chain they can drape over the rear wing for some extra Bling!

        1. And a gold cape…got to have a cape.

          1. Yeah!!!!
            Like this one that Joe Saward is wearing…


            1. That’s not Joe Saward is it???

            2. bloomin heck is he worried about aliens reading his mind? lol

            3. @RIISE
              LOL – Look closely…
              .. It may be his sister!

      3. Bahar must be dancing now!
        (or any other expression of happiness, but I would say dancing fits best with all the gold)

    5. I like the fact Pirelli are providing teams with new, unexplored tyres – it adds a sense of experimentalism.

      It’s a shame they can only use them on Friday however, because that suggests they’re wanting the teams to sort of test them out, when really, the teams should be working and practising with the tyres they’ll be racing with.

      I also don’t see why the stripes should be an ‘interim solution’. The system of having something to distinguish between compounds, like a stripe, is obviously going to work. We know this works from last year. Why not just keep them? What are they going to come up with after Turkey, polka dots?

    6. I didn’t have a problem differentiating them before to be honest…

      Definately will look good on the Renaults.

      1. I didn’t see the problem either, but a lot of people moaned about it (what do people not complain about?!).

        The ‘new’ graphics for the F1 broadcast (the list of drivers names at the left side of the screen for example) would be a way to help knowing who uses what tyre. When someone goes into the pits, they show a little P behind his name, they coud have something like that for tyres aswell, XS S M H W FW or O(ption) P(rime) or something like that. Anyway, I think this whole tyre marking probem is really not that important to begin with.

        1. The new broadcast graphics such as the listof drivers would be fine if they didn’t appear half way across the screen (if you are watching in widescreen). They seemed to block out a bit too much for my liking!

          1. That annoyed me as well. I know they have to cater for everyone (even people who still don’t have widescreen TVs) but it just looked ridiculous.

          2. Agree! I know people around the world still have 4:3 sets, but I bet none of them are HD. So why can’t the HD feed (at least) have the graphics at the proper edge of the 16:9 picture??

            1. I thought the same thing… the HD feed is in othing but widescreen, as that is the flavour that HD comes in, so why can’t the HD feed have the info right over to the edge.

              Ahh screw it, Just put all of it over to the edge. If you still have a 4:3 TV, why? It’s the space year 2011, and it’s not like a widescreen TV is going to break the bank.

            2. It’s the space year 2011, and it’s not like a widescreen TV is going to break the bank.

              I hate to break it to you, but it was only last year that I got a widescreen TV and then only because it was free and my old TV had lost the sound out of 1 speaker. And if I hadn’t been given a free TV then I would probably have just not had a TV as yes, for me a widescreen TV would have broken the bank when I have more important things to pay for – like rent and food etc.

      2. Pete Baldwin
        7th April 2011, 14:28

        Same here. I wasn’t watching in HD and it wasn’t on a particularly good TV and I could tell straight away with no problems at all…

        Strange that Brundle, Coulthard and the majority of fans couldn’t spot it…..

        1. I could only tell the difference when the cars came right past the camera, from any distance it was impossible to distuinguish between primes and options. I wasn’t watching in HD either.

      3. I agree. I was watching on iplayer on my laptop and had no problems at all telling the bright yellow/gold markings from the crisp white ones.

    7. What team has time to run another tire other than the ones they’ll be using in the actual race itself. With testing available i would think all time would be dedicated to getting the last degree of performance available for the battle on Sunday. Unless of course it’s RedBull and you already have a healthy second advantage over the other teams.
      Do the teams running these test tires get compensation. Maybe granted an extra engine for the year? With the current constraints imposed on the teams, can they afford to test something that doesn’t ultimately affect Sunday’s outcome?

      1. They get to be able to run 2 extra sets of tyres, thus keeping more sets fresh.

    8. I didn’t have a problem telling them apart…..

    9. why interim?! i like this stripe method (just not a green stripe). the gold stripe will be easily recognisable!

      1. Exactly. See my point above!

      2. Come on, a brand as famous as Pirelli can’t even come up with a method of tellign tyres apart? OK, they can’t do perfect tyres at their first year, but at least the graphics!

        1. They did, and it worked – for some of us at least.

          Personally I agree with those saying that they should put a solid stripe between the Pirelli and P-Zero logos in the relevant colour – if they must change them that is.

    10. the emphasis is still firmly on entertainment and putting on a great show for the crowds.”

      I would have much preferred a fuel-based pitstops without having to change tires. I feel it could be better, here are the advantages I can think of.
      1) The racing would be fast. Challenge would be to find the balance between how many stops and when.
      2) Tires are out of the equation, 1 set of tires for the whole race ( unless it rains of course ).
      3) Less manpower required for pitstops, I think 3-4 people are enough to fill a car.
      4) Less tires, less waste!
      5) We would not have any of these nonsense, WWE-style, statements from Pirelli.
      6) Change regulations to make engines, gearboxes more reliable.

      But, thats just me. F1 is in its own little dreamland most of the time.

      1. Jeffrey Powell
        7th April 2011, 15:27

        Yes ,but I would make it one stop for fuel and all teams must start with a prescribed amount of fuel and all tanks must be the same size.Of course they would have to be big enough plus say 15% for the most heavy fuel consumption circuits. The tires would have to be good enough to easily last a whole race but could of course be changed if neccessary, but not during the fuel stop.
        This would mean the fastest drivers could go at it 10 tenths throughout the whole race, only their skill and fitness being the deciding factor.

      2. They tried that in 2005.
        Not a very memorable season, with the exception of the US Grand Prix.

        1. And that one where Kimi’s McLaren flew apart when he flat-spotted a tyre but couldn’t change it without sacrificing the race win…

      3. Did you watch F1 in 2005 ?

    11. I don’t get this, it’s was easy to spot the difference.

      1. Not always, often it was a matter of waiting until the car got closer to the camera before you could make it out. Commentators were sitting there in silence until they could make out the colour.

        1. Really? I didn’t notice those bits of silence while Martin and David waited for a car to come into view so they could see the tyre markings – pretty poor commentators if you ask me.

          1. I found it very difficult.

            Yellow and white at 200mph errrrr?

            1. I Think the real issue was with the bridgestone stripe it was never fantastic, but on the straights you could normally make out easily what tires people were on. Where as the new pirellis were the opposite, easy to see as soon as the car was on a corner but there was no indication from a front or back view on the straights. I think adding the stripe will be the best of both worlds short of colouring the whole tire it should be a good solution.

          2. Erm were you listening to the commentary at all? Into to turn 1 they waited for the turn until they said the tyre compound.

      2. To me as well, but you sometimes had to wait for a good angle. If they negate that and don’t color the entire sidewall (ugh) then I’m happy!

    12. You know I found the markings useless during the race. I couldn’t see what colour they were on the radio.

      1. I couldn’t see what colour they were on the radio.

        It’s not the greatest visual medium.

    13. Deja vu from 2007, when Bridgestone’s method of differentiating between tyres at Australia was so rubbish they had to introduce painted grooves for Malaysia.

      It’s daft that they can’t get these things sorted in testing rather than tinkering with them during the season

    14. …I had absolutely no problem identifying the tyres.

      I was watching in HD to be fair. You couldn’t see the grey, however that tyre was easily identifiable by the lack of yellow. If it was yellow it was soft, and if you weren’t sure: it was hard. Works for me.

    15. The problem with Melbourne was the lack of contrast on occasion due to the low sun. On tracks with a midday race it should be a bit easier to spot.

      Still, having a stripe around the sidewall will make it much easier…if they do it to the softer compound of the two, there’s two ways of identifying the tyre.

    16. UKfanatic (@)
      7th April 2011, 22:37

      Was I the only one that didnt had problems with the tyre markings. I really like This Pirelli solution, italian guys always have stylish answers for ridiculous problems, anyway that gold strip seems to thin to be worth it

    17. Why not just make it a yellow stripe? :/

      Oh well, I suppose it only makes things easier, mustn’t grumble.

      Should look good on the Renault!

    18. Super, from the grandstand in Melbourne it was just about impossible to tell who was on what tyre. This should make that much easier.

    19. It will be better if they can paint it Red or something.

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