Pirelli tyres

F1 fans can still learn real tyre names under simplified 2019 system – Pirelli

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Formula 1 fans will still be able to learn the exact tyre compounds being used at each race when a simplified naming system is introduced next year, according to Pirelli.

The sport’s official tyre supplier has been requested to simplify the naming system for its compounds for the 2019 F1 season. The selections for each race will be referred to simply as ‘hard’, ‘medium’, and ‘soft’.

However the manufacturer’s sporting director Mario Isola confirmed in response to a question from RaceFans that it will ensure fans who choose to can find out which name refers to which exact compound, such as hyper-soft or super-soft, for each race.

“We will tell you which is the compound we nominate for each race because obviously we are not going to race with the [same] three compounds everywhere,” said Isola. “We will find a way to give you the information but for spectators that are not really interested in technical stuff they will learn three colours, three names and that’s all.”

The changes proposed for next year could mean the same tyre compound is referred to by different names and colours at difference races (see below). This presents Pirelli with some problems to solve, says Isola.

“We will have different compounds associated to the same colour and when we have the tyres returning to the warehouse… we must be 100% sure we don’t mix [them]. We need to find a solution to avoid any minimal risk to mix the tyres.

“Also we need to understand how to manage collective testing. Now we are using all different colours, tomorrow what do we do? When they have all the compounds available, five or six, or whatever number it will be, which system do we use to recognise?”

The current hard, medium and soft tyres are coloured blue, white and yellow respectively. The choice of colours for next year has not been decided yet.

“I will have another meeting with FOM and with the people from television to understand which are the three colours that are more visible. Somebody told me on television it’s difficult to recognise white from yellow.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

How the 2018 tyre selections would look under the new system

Under the proposal for 2019 the same tyre compound could have three different names during the course of the championship. For example, based on this year’s tyre selections so far, the ‘soft’ tyre would be referred to as ‘hard’ at Melbourne, ‘medium’ at Catalunya and ‘soft’ at Silverstone:

MelbourneHard (Soft compound)Medium (Super-soft compound)Soft (Ultra-soft compound)
BahrainHard (Medium compound)Medium (Soft compound)Soft (Super-soft compound)
ShanghaiHard (Medium compound)Medium (Soft compound)Soft (Ultra-soft compound)
BakuHard (Soft compound)Medium (Super-soft compound)Soft (Ultra-soft compound)
CatalunyaHard (Medium compound)Medium (Soft compound)Soft (Super-soft compound)
Monte-CarloHard (Super-soft compound)Medium (Ultra-soft compound)Soft (Hyper-soft compound)
MontrealHard (Super-soft compound)Medium (Ultra-soft compound)Soft (Hyper-soft compound)
Paul RicardHard (Soft compound)Medium (Super-soft compound)Soft (Ultra-soft compound)
Red Bull RingHard (Soft compound)Medium (Super-soft compound)Soft (Ultra-soft compound)
SilverstoneHard (Hard compound)Medium (Medium compound)Soft (Soft compound)
HockenheimringHard (Medium compound)Medium (Soft compound)Soft (Ultra-soft compound)
HungaroringHard (Medium compound)Medium (Soft compound)Soft (Ultra-soft compound)
Spa-FrancorchampsHard (Medium compound)Medium (Soft compound)Soft (Super-soft compound)
MonzaHard (Medium compound)Medium (Soft compound)Soft (Super-soft compound)
SingaporeHard (Soft compound)Medium (Ultra-soft compound)Soft (Hyper-soft compound)
SochiHard (Super-soft compound)Medium (Ultra-soft compound)Soft (Hyper-soft compound)
SuzukaHard (Medium compound)Medium (Soft compound)Soft (Super-soft compound)
Circuit of the AmericasHard (Soft compound)Medium (Super-soft compound)Soft (Ultra-soft compound)
Autodromo Hermanos RodriguezHard (Super-soft compound)Medium (Ultra-soft compound)Soft (Hyper-soft compound)

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

42 comments on “F1 fans can still learn real tyre names under simplified 2019 system – Pirelli”

  1. If I was Pirelli, I’d make it so that the colors are as follows:

    Softs – Red
    Mediums – White
    Hards – Blue

    This would make them all easily distinguishable (sometimes the yellow and white can be tough to differentiate due to glare). Also, although this isn’t absolutely necessary, I would also add colored lines on the edges of the contact patch like the Bridgestone soft tyres of 2010 or Pirellis of the early races of 2011. Never understood why exactly Pirelli abandoned those.

    1. Wets – Blue
      Inters – Green

      Hard – violet
      Med – yellow
      Soft – red – orange

      Trying to get as much distance between the colours on the bbc visibility spectrum from the old crt days (Can’t find the modern equivalent) while preserving blue & green for wets and trying to match your colours gives us this. As yellow and white are hard to tell, I went for yellow on a whim, could just as easily be white. Red-orange is a specific shade not a choice between the two!

    2. I’d try to choose the colors so they’d mean something. Purple for the soft tires because when a driver does fastest sector time the time is shown in purple color. Red is the medium compound and yellow should be the hard one. I think red is “faster” color than yellow. Then green for the inters and blue ones for the wets. Or dark blue for wets and cyan for inters. Only problem here that I see is that if someone is green/yellow color blind then he won’t be able to spot the difference between inters and hards but I don’t think anybody would change from inters to hards anyways.

      I’d also re-introduce tire stickers on new tires. That way it is easy to see when a driver puts on brand new tires or used ones. Definitely good information on pitstops and during qualifying. The sticker should be the size of keyboard so it is easy to see for spectators and made of some bio degradable material. Preferrably tire compound colored paper so it shreds into multiple small pieces instead of one big piece which could then block a radiator if it flies into the air intakes. Or just paint some of the tread with the same color as the tire. The grip difference is meaningless anyways because it wears off really quickly. And it won’t be eye sore either because it wears away during half lap.

    3. I reckon…

      Wets: blue (water)
      Inters: green (intermediate colour)
      Hard: yellow (low deg)
      Medium: orange (med deg)
      Soft: red (high deg)

  2. A sensible change. I wonder why Pirelli thinks it’ll be a problem for them when the tyres are returned to the warehouse. Didn’t Bridgestone do just fine with having standardized markings for the prime/option tyres?

    1. There are many things Bridgestone did that Pirelli struggle with, such as making tyres.

      The compounds are going to be given letters (right?) so Pirelli could just add a really small identifier somewhere on the sidewall, small enough that it is unobtrusive

      1. I don’t know that it really matters if it’s unobtrusive, or not. If the information isn’t “secret”, it makes no difference if it can be spotted at a glance.
        Like Adam, though, I’m also a bit nonplussed as to why a supposed “simplification” should be the source of more confusion.
        The only reason the current system can get confusing is that they added a bunch of superlative qualifiers to the names of existing tiers. Just label them with numbers or letters in increasing order of expected durability. We can take it, as fans and spectators. People don’t just watch races to go “Car fast! Vroooom!!”. They engage our minds with strategy, skill as well as speed.

    2. All the unused tires go to shredder. Nothing left over is not used anywhere ever again.

      1. What I mean is that the tire material is recycled but the tires are not used as tires anymore.

    3. Tyre companies managed warehousing for years before these crazy colours arrived so cannot see the issue, also are the tyres not barcoded, thats how the FIA and Pirelli track tyre usage through the weekend.

    4. Bridgestone used to paint the stripes on the tyres only at the last moment If I remember correctly. And they looked really badly done – even though they were inside the grooves, they were never quite straight – nothing like the sidewall paint on the pirelli tyres.

      With the painted sidewalls, Pirelli will have to store the tyres for the next time that that same tyre will be used as the same “variant” during a race weekend. And then keep a check on dates to avoid bringing older tyres to a race that might have slightly worse characteristics (since tyres change over time, they have a limited duration they can be used, especially for high performance tyres).

  3. So we’ll again have primes, options, and…..qualies?

    1. @davidnotcoulthard Teams still refer to the tyres every weekend as “options”, “primes” and “back-up” from what I’ve heard over team radio.

    2. I suspect they will chame nomenclature to match the new pirelli version, the old system was pointlessly complex, that’s why teams were using their own consistent naming system, the new one is simple. Each compound performed differently at each race, so there was little point in using the compound names, this change is sensible.

  4. Why not just have 3 compounds, might make for exciting racing? Hypersoft, soft and hard :D

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      14th July 2018, 12:45

      Better still why don’t we change back to one type of tyre per race again with the driver’s using Friday practice to decide whether to take the option or the prime for qualifying and the race

  5. Just a simple suggestion:

    1. Give them numbers – 1 could be softest…

    2. Paint rings on the side equal the numbers…


    1. You’ve got to remember, the vast majority of the audience watch in hd with all sorts of motion blurring gizmos switched on from their tv’s menu, it would be clear enough for most camera shots we see

      1. * wouldn’t

      2. Let the rings be colored too…

  6. So if this was instituted, the Soft compound could be declared the hard, medium or soft compound depending on the circuit.

    At a circuit soft could be supersoft, soft could be medium and medium could be hard. That is really really stupid and just plain confusing.

    1. @trido next year they won’t be called ultra soft, super soft, etc. They’ll be given letters A–G or however many there are

  7. The way it is described here, it sounds like the 2019 situation will be more complicated than 2018, which is pretty impressive for a simplification effort.

    1. That’s exactly what I thought! The fans are more technically savvy than most of their “Experts”.

    2. Michael Brown (@)
      15th July 2018, 0:57

      I don’t expect anything in F1 to ever get simpler anymore.

  8. Forget about the fans needing to know what the compounds actually are, I think it might be fun if the teams aren’t told either. They would all get the same number of sets of each at the start of the weekend, and it’s up to them to work out what they’ve been given for this particular race and the best way to use them.

    This would at least encourage a bit more tactical divergence instead of the strategies being honed in endless simulations before the weekend has even begun.

    1. Robert McKay
      14th July 2018, 10:51

      I like your thinking!

    2. It would also give Pirelli the freedom to adapt and tweak the compounds if required (e.g. excessive blistering for a majority of a field on a compound, so fix the problem), without causing an internet bun-fight.

    3. Bernie's Miniature Grandpa
      14th July 2018, 11:42

      I suspect you’d probably just get the richest teams spending a godzillion dollars developing systems to sample marbles from the tyres and determine the compound.

      Also, @phylyp sadly there’ll always be an internet bun-fight whenever a fact comes to light which contradicts a fanboy’s cherished opinion of his favourite driver/team/whatever as being the embodiment of virtue. Rational, informed discussion takes a back seat to kneejerk denial and posturing.

  9. An unnecessary change in my opinion. There is nothing complicated to the tyre naming as it is.

    What they should have done is reduce the amount of differerent compounds. I dont think the current Hard compound is really needed.

  10. TBH I kind of wish they wouldn’t color the sidewall’s & make it easy to see who’s running what because I think it’s more interesting when we (As well as other teams) don’t know who’s on what.

    Something Anthony Davidson raised last weekend got me thinking & I agree with his point.

    I think we have too much information now & that is playing into the ‘It’s too predictable’ problem many have. If you know Vettel is on the softest compound & Hamilton on a harder one then for the most part you know how things are going to go (Vettel faster but will have to pit sooner, Lewis maybe a bit slower but can stay out longer), Especially when we have estimates for what lap a tyre will likely go to. It was the same when we had refueling & they started publishing starting weights in 2009, We went from not knowing when drivers were making there 1st stop to having a very good idea & I don’t think that added anything, It actually took away the one bit of uncertainty we did have regarding fuel strategy.

    I’ve been watching the archive stuff on F1TV & i’ve been finding going into a race having no idea at all who’s doing what, Who’s running what compounds etc… makes watching the race far more interesting because even if it’s a race I know the results to (Which I actually do for most of the archive in terms of who wins) not knowing how you get there & is what makes it interesting.

  11. The whole issue isn’t the whole naming of the compounds. It’s the fact Pirrelli has about 10 different compounds, and still isn’t able to make a daring selection to encourage interesting strategies.

  12. I want them to name their next tires super duper massive hard tires

  13. Good. Precisely what I wished for if the suggestion were to happen for next season (which seems to be the case now), although I still think it’s more or less entirely unnecessary as I don’t find the current format confusing nor complicated at all. In the end, it isn’t rocket science, so I don’t understand all the fuss about it. ”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  14. Sergey Martyn
    14th July 2018, 15:20

    Thank god, all of those ultra, hyper, mega, giga, pooper etc. abracadabra will be a history.
    The next step I’m waiting for is the abolition of mandatory tyre change and mandatory Q2 tyres to start the race.
    So many great races in 1990’s when not only the midfielders but the front runners did some wonders with one tyre strategy.
    F1 policy is hypocrisy – they limit fuel consumption but make the use of two tyre compounds mandatory – I believe the amount of energy, materials neede to make all those tyres and the extra cost of hauling the huge amounts of rubber across the globe is through the roof comparing to extra 50-100 kGs of fuel burnt by one car in a race.

  15. This is dumb it’s fine how it is now. This is actually more confusing.

  16. Pirelli and the current tyre rules are a joke

  17. Just have 3 compounds, Soft, Med and Hard. Thats it.

  18. They should colour the drivers names, number, marker and or position on screen with the colour of the tyre choice so we at least have some clue when watching from home.

    Also they should ditch the premium F1 app and make it all free so we can get more info while we watch.

    Lastly ditch our ability to hear team radio, drivers and teams should be able to talk freely with each other without worrying about what fans or other teams are hearing.

  19. So by simplifying it for the uninitiated ‘fan’, they’ve made it much more complicated from a logistical point of view for Pirelli. Top work lads.

  20. Oh come on! What’s so complicated about the current arrangement? I am absolutely sick of having everything dumbed down for the “average” person, whether it’s in F1 or on TV science documentaries. People are not as stupid as the regulators seem to think, and for those who can’t understand the current simple tyre progression, bring out a “F1 Tyres for Dummies” book; there’s one for almost everything else ;-)

Comments are closed.