Pirelli tyres

Pirelli hopes F1 teams will use new tyre names in 2019

2019 F1 season

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Pirelli hopes Formula 1 teams will adopt the new tyre names it will introduce next year to help fans identify which compounds they are using more easily.

However sporting director Mario Isola suspects the plans to use the designations ‘hard’, ‘medium’ and ‘soft’ for every race next year may still lead to some confusion, particularly during tests.

Isola confirmed during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend F1 will go ahead with the plan to use the names ‘hard’, ‘medium’ and ‘soft’ at every race. The tyres will be chosen from up to twice as many different compounds.

Pirelli created seven types of rubber for this season. But one of these, the super-hard was not nominated for any race and another, the hard, only appeared at Silverstone. “The target to reduce is five or six ideally,” said Isola. “Less than five is not possible, more than six is something we would like to avoid.”

Formula One Management and the FIA requested Pirelli use the same three names at every race in the 2019 F1 season. “We followed the request and we made the necessary changes in order to achieve that for 2019,” said Isola. “The next step is to define the colours and to announce officially that we are going in this direction.

“The other open points are that we have to give a name to the compounds in order to give you the information on which are the real compounds we are using. And how we manage the test because at the test all the compounds are available so we need to understand how to print the sidewall at the test.”

Isola admitted a potential for confusion remains as the real compound names will still be known. It also raises the problem of how to identify each tyre at tests, where more than three compounds are available to the teams.

“During the pre-season test I can imagine there will be some confusion,” said Isola. “But hopefully we fix it with races where we have the three compounds.

“During the test we will try to give you the best possible information and you and the spectators and the fans. But it is a complete change of approach compared to the past. Some people now realise that the white is the medium, the yellow is the soft and so on. We are changing a little bit.”

The picture is further muddied as many teams do not use the compound names at all when referring to the tyres. “They are still talking about ‘prime’, ‘option’ and ‘quali’,” said Isola. “Something that is coming probably from 15 years ago.

“We cannot change this but now we have hard, medium and soft maybe they will use these three names.”

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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...

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  • 37 comments on “Pirelli hopes F1 teams will use new tyre names in 2019”

    1. Tri colour should be easy enough to use so you have a Monza soft and a Monaco Soft easy enough.

    2. This is getting even more confusing.

      If there have to be 7 slick compounds, I’d go with:

      UltraHard, SuperHard, Hard, Medium, Soft, SuperSoft, UltraSoft.

      If they go down to 5, just get rid of the Ultra-ones. It’s not rocket science. Or is it…

      1. Agreed. Pirelli, FOM, FIA, just do this! My preference would be five types, SuperHard, Hard, Medium, Soft and SuperSoft, and then it would be inherently clear from the names which are softer than which, which are harder, etc. Whereas with SuperSoft and UltraSoft for example, I always have to think twice about which of those two is the softer.

        1. For me it is enough to know that there is a standart tyre, then two options: a faster one and a more durable one.
          Eventually, maybe somewhere they would show me a comparative that the quali tyre for a track is the prime for another.
          Besides that I see little gain for race enjoyment and strategy comprehesion.

    3. Isola admitted a potential for confusion remains as the real compound names will still be known. It also raises the problem of how to identify each tyre at tests

      Just give them boring names which do not include soft/hard, E.g number them.
      This way all will happily refer to them as Hard/Medium/Soft during a race.

      1. The formal names can be compound ZHDWJJFY, compound JESJIMVD, compound WGORAMZ, etc. 😊

        1. @phylyp Dunlop used to do that in their motorbike racing tyres, so you had, from hard to soft: 6683, 6680, 6167, 6753, 6751, 6704 and 6136. Lucky for us they decided this was absurd and changed them to numbers between 1 (softest) and 5 (hardest). I’m quite sure Pirelli has some similar internal codes, specially when they’re developing different versions of a compound.

    4. Just led the names be what they are already. I don’t want a fake name system, I want to know exactly what tires the car is fitted with

      1. Agreed the more the FIA & Formula One Mngmnt stick their noses into the racing environment, the worse it has become.

        Nothing is broken, so a “fix” ain’t necessary!

      2. There’s already a ‘fake name system’ @freguz.

        Pirelli have codes used internally
        Pirelli give compound names
        Teams use prime/option
        Commentators say crap like “the harder compound, which this week is the soft”

        So with the proposed system, at least one of these systems will disappear. Maybe two. And if you want you can find out whatever you want. I’m sure if you email them Pirelli might even give you the internal codes, not that I can see a use for them.

        1. Thanks for the clarification

          I meant the “compound names”

    5. How about naming the tyres based on their performance. slowest, slower, slow, average, fast, faster, fastest
      haha
      Or make things more confusing double-barrel the names
      slowest-longest, slower-longer, slow-long, average, fast-short, faster-shorter, fastest-shortest

      1. How about;

        Double plus fast
        Plus fast
        Fast
        Slow
        Plus slow
        Double plus slow

        1. @Alice

          This reminded me of my girlfriend (a non native English speaker) who assigned her various levels of management with the titles Boss, Bosser and Bossest.

    6. If they want the teams to use the same terminology as they do, why don’t they just go for the terminology the teams have been using for many years now? ‘Prime’, ‘option’, ‘quali(fying)’ – problem solved.

      Personally, I’ve always been a fan of Pirelli’s current system, at least in principle. Liked the many different colours that gave each race a different feel, liked the fact that one look at a car tells you exactly what rubber it’s on.

      1. I think it is a bad idea to opt for the “prime, option, quali” nomenclature used by the teams as it is not very intuitive for the viewer. In the same vein, the numerous prefixes to “soft” are ridiculous. The “soft, medium, hard” terminology is certainly the best for the viewers and non-hardcore fans. They should just add the hardness level out of 5 or 6 in the graphics for those who want that detail.

      2. The problem with prime/option is that most people that dont know what this site what called before racefans.net dont know which one of those is softer, either.

    7. I like the move to just 3 names, you know exactly what tyres they are on relative to the others brought without having to remember exactly which 3 tyre compounds are available that weekend. “Oh, he’s on the super soft, is that the softest compound or is the ultra-soft available?” It reminds me of the old Prime/Option, you always knew if they were on the harder or softer tyre. This also has the benefit of making a race more accessible to casual fans or people watching for the first time.

      As for wanting to know about which exact tyre compound they’re using for a weekend, in my personal opinion, I don’t think it matters all that much for the fans, in terms of the race weekend anyway it’s all about relative compounds. The teams obviously need the data about which specific compounds are being used for their own data correlation and setup.

      However that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t make it available to us (and in testing it will be valuable information, for as much as you can glean from testing), the obvious way to do that would be to simply number them so you can tell at a glance without having to try and decipher whether hyper-soft is softer than super-soft.

    8. Getting more confusing, it is like solving a problem with another, since we don’t know which compound actually is.

    9. TBH, I still don’t understand the point behind this proposed change. Having this many different compound names being used (which has been the regularity since 2011) isn’t confusing at all, or at least it shouldn’t be. In the end, this isn’t rocket science after all, far from it. The only good thing is that we’re at least still going to get to know beforehand which specific compounds are going to be available for each race weekend like was the case with Bridgestone when they were the sole tyre supplier of F1.

      BTW, ”During the test we will try to give you the best possible information and you and the spectators and the fans.” – LOL.

      1. Not convinced there’s any need to change, it’s just change for it’s own sake. The new approach will create less certainty than what we currently have.

        Also, due to the abysmally poor* free-to-air coverage we now get (in Aus, at least), i doubt we’ll be told what the compounds actually are.

        [* for most races this year, most of the pit stops by the front runners have not been broadcast. We want to see the racing, but the “highlights” package wastes the very limited broadcast time on the podium phase. Show us the racing, all of the racing, pls Mr Broadcaster!]

      2. wholly with you there @jerejj. I am afraid it is another one where a couple of commentators got on their high horse complaining that it was “confusing” and the result is a haphazard “solution” that really doesn’t solve anything, or even really changes anything but just helps to make things even less clear.

    10. I was hoping they would change the names to Michelin.

      1. Nice play there. :)

        Then we could get intermediate and full wet tires that would actually perform well in the rain!

    11. I don’t see how this is remotely confusing. Tyres A–F (softest to hardest), three are nominated. And if teams say prime we know they mean hard, etc., it’s no different from them doing it now.

      The dilemma in testing, they could just use different colours for their testing tyres, or alternatively just write the letter on the side of them (the television audience and spectators don’t matter)

      1. Exactly my thoughts.

        Compounds A to F and any three of these are chosen as ‘soft’ ‘medium’ and ‘hard’ for a given weekend.

        Pretty simple…

    12. are they keeping the colours for each compound or will the “soft” tyre always be, say, red, but the compound different for each race?

      1. Red Yellow White every (dry) race, @fer-no65.

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        30th August 2018, 12:09

        Yes, the softest tyre will always be red, etc…

        This way anoraks like us can seek out if its the hypermediums or the ultramediums available that weekend, without making this impossibly confusing for the casual viewer

    13. I can see this being one of the few occasions where seasoned fans will be more confused than newcomers, at least until we get used to it…

    14. just a crazy idea….go simple…1-7 or however many tires there are. 1 can be either the softest or hardest, it doesn’t matter.

    15. If the performance difference between the teams remains “as is”, they can stick with the current names because we won’t have anything else to do between start and finish but figuring out who is on which tyre anyway.

    16. Taris Henrique
      30th August 2018, 13:18

      Why do not they just put a numbers in the compound name? Pirelli 1(HyperSoft), Pirelli 2 (UltraSoft) ….

    17. So, just to be clear, isn’t this just patronizing and undermining the spectator?

    18. I would prefer if they just gave each compound a number, e.g. 1 thru 5 w/ a unique color band and on race weekends everyone just referred to the three available options as Prime, Option and Quali. I really do not like the Hard, Medium, Soft, Super Soft, Extreme Soft (or whatever it is) naming scheme, sounds like Fluffer trade-lingo.

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