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.
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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