Pirelli to simplify F1 tyre compounds from 2019
Pirelli is set to switch to a simplified naming model for next season designed to make it easier for fans to understand Formula 1’s tyre compounds during a race weekend.
Currently, Pirelli produced a range of seven different compounds (plus the intermediate and wet tyre), ranging from ultrahard to hypersoft, with three of those compounds taken to each event.
While the available compounds may vary from race to race in 2019, they will be referred to as hard, medium, and soft on any given weekend.
“That is the plan,” confirmed Pirelli’s Mario Isola.
“I can confirm that I made all the investigation within the company to understand if it is feasible, because obviously there is an implication with the production, logistics, how we manage the tyres, and marketing.
“I made an investigation with all the departments to make sure we’re not doing something wrong and I confirmed that it’s feasible.
“The three names are clear, hard, medium and soft, but the three colours are still under discussion.”
It’s a move that was set to be introduced for 2020 when F1’s next tyre contract comes into play, with Pirelli having opting to introduce the practice a year earlier.
“It was a request coming from F1 and the FIA, and we made the necessary changes in order to achieve that for 2019,” Isola explained.
“The next step is to define the colours, and to announce officially that we are going in that direction.
“The other open points are that we need to give a name to the compounds to give you the information on which are the real compounds that we are using, and how we manage the tests, because at the tests all the compounds are available, because we need to understand how to paint the sidewalls at the test.”
Teams typically refer to the current compounds as prime, option and qualifying, with Isola hoping they’ll adopted the simplified naming convention.
“They are still talking about prime, option and qualifying, so it’s something that’s coming probably from 15 years ago,” Isola suggested.
“We cannot change this, but now we have hard, medium and soft, maybe they can use these names.”
Next season is Pirelli’s last under its current contract with F1, with the tender process currently open for a supplier from 2020-23.