Tyres, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Pirelli to replace tyre names with numbers in 2019

2019 F1 season

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Pirelli will use numbers to describe the different tyres compounds it will offers teams in the 2019 F1 season and hopes to reduce the range from seven to five.

Next year the three types of tyre chosen for each race will be referred to as ‘hard’ (with white colouring), ‘medium’ (yellow) and ‘soft’ (red).

However it will still be necessary to distinguish between the compounds in order for teams to nominate their selections each race weekend. Pirelli will therefore do away with designations such as ‘hyper-soft’ and instead refer to each compound by number.

“We call then one, two, three, four, five,” Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola explained in response to a question from RaceFans. “One is the hardest and five is the softest. If we have six then six will be the softest.

“We’ll inform the teams [using] ‘compound one, compound two, compound three…’ and we’ll tell them not hard, medium, soft that will be white, yellow, red, but we’ll give them the numbers.”

F1’s official tyre supplier created a total of seven compounds this year. However one, the super-hard, was not nominated for any races. The hard was only selected for Silverstone.

Pirelli therefore hopes to cut its tyre range to five slick compounds next year. It will offer teams six compounds to evaluate in next week’s two-day test at the Yas Marina Circuit.

“The test will be important to understand if we can reduce by one compound,” said Isola. “Ideally we want to homologate five but we have six available. Probably one of the six is going to disappear. But we will inform the teams so they know exactly what is going to happen.”

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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...

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  • 15 comments on “Pirelli to replace tyre names with numbers in 2019”

    1. I’m not sure this makes it easier…

      1. I think it will be a lot simpler. I doubt that even on fan sites like this we will talk a lot about the numbers, but simply refer to them as hard, medium, soft.

        PS Pirelli had more than 7 types this year as there were some ‘shaved’ options. They should have put an ‘s’ behind the name like Apple does every odd year.

        1. Sure, it will probably be: 14,32 – 0,978 – 55,3744 – 0,0021 – 1 – 7.
          I mean, in order of durability.

      2. Sure it will. Now you only need to remember soft, medium and hard.

        And ignore the arbitrary qualifiers

    2. We’ve also found out Pirelli is going to be announced as F1’s tyre supplier for 2020-23, so this is going to be the shape of things to come for the foreseeable future at least:


    3. This is still, an unnecessary change in my view. I’ve never found the current approach complicated nor confusing at all. The only good thing is that at least we’re still going to get to know beforehand which specific compounds are going to be available for each race weekend.

      1. Only if the word qualifiers are obvious. As of right now we have supersofts, hypersofts and ultrasofts in addition to sorts. Those words are just arbitrary names as hyper, ultra and super don’t mean anything specific. This is not a Pokémon game.

        With the new system, on a race weekend you will be told any three tyres are hard medium and soft. Way simpler system.

    4. That can only go wrong. Have to explain every time what the hardest and softest is – why it goes up not down, why the wet tyre is what, etc. Words are more effective than numbers.

      1. How is that different to explaining which is the hardest/softest between ultra, hyper and super soft? Numbers are intrinsically ordered, word-prefixes are not.

    5. I am a casual viewer of IndyCar, where there is the red soft and black hard tyre. I have no idea whether those two compounds differ from race to race or not and I do not care, either. Therefore, being consistent with tyre colours makes it much easier to follow happenings for a casual viewer. And for more interested fans, the information is available.

      I also welcome the idea to reduce the number of available compounds to 5.

    6. 3. That’s the magic number. (Though that’s probably a megasoft intermediate FP2 tyre under the new system).

    7. I can already imagine the commentators talking about Kimi coming into the pits for a number 2…

    8. From what I gather, this means that the number system is for the teams while the colour system is for the viewers?

    Comments are closed.