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How to tell which Pirelli tyre is which during the 2011 F1 season
How to tell which Pirelli tyre is which during the 2011 F1 season
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Mar 2011   |  8:24 pm GMT  |  169 comments

This season the performance of the Pirelli tyres is going to be a real talking point and absolutely central to the outcome of races.

In order to help the fans, journalists and TV commentators identify which tyre is which they have colour coded the tyres for quick and easy identification.

This will be useful in qualifying, to see whether anyone feels they can get through Q1 on a set of hard tyres (the difference is said to be as much as 1.5 secs on a lap between soft and hard) and in the race to see what tyres a driver puts on at the pit stops.

In the slick tyre range, for dry weather running, the silver tyre (right of picture) is the Hard, the White tyre is the medium the Yellow is soft and the Red is supersoft. These should be very easy to spot during the practice, qualifying and race on TV and in the grandstands.

Wet tyre (left) and Intermediate (right)

In the wet tyre range, the Orange is full wet and the blue is Intermediate.

You will be seeing the Silver (hard) and Yellow (soft) in Australia next week and at the next two races in Malaysia and China.

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One question for you James, just curious. What if last year when Bridgestone announced they’d quit F1, but with no tire manufacturer putting their names forward to produce F1 tires for the teams. What would happen then?



Bernie Ecclestone would revive his Avon tyre service from the old days!


I stick by my comments before. I think the rule to use both compounds in a race is redundant. I say bring them all and the teams choose. Most will settle on the same choices but someone will always try something different. We need different strategies to be viable to make people think about using them. Having everyone forced into the same routine is boring.

As for the white/silver thing. While under planned circumstances we shouldn’t see them on the track together, there’s no guarantee this will be the case. Poor planning if you ask me. What would have been so bad with using green?


Stop making F1 looking like a bowl of fruity pebbles.


😀 Fruit Loops


Better yet, get Wrigley to sponsor the tires, and paint them like Life Savers.


If a team thought there might be advantage in “brightening up” the sidewall script with a non-standard-colour paint marker, would that be regarded as “unsporting”, do you suppose?



The silver and white colors are a very smart choice from Pirelli. They will never be seen together in the same race weekend, so this means the tire choices for a weekend will be: white or silver on black (colors that look good on any race tire), and some other flashy color (red or yellow) on black. Someone at Pirelli is thinking, which is a good sign…

The only color clashing may be someone going from a wet tire (orange) to a super soft (red) when the track starts to dry up- which I don’t think will ever happen anyways…

In short, no need for green.


If they are introducing an extra hard tyre for Turkey what colour will that be?


On a Pirelli related note:

I needed new tires for my car. I had the choice between Michelin, Pirelli and Bridgestone.

Mechanic said, get the Bridgestone because they last longer than the Pirellis. He then said, “look at F1 too, it is obvious”.

Even though I know Pirelli made the ones for F1 weaker so they wear off faster, it surely is not a good marketing strategy is it?

I mean, I went for the Birdgestones, while the Pirelli was a bit cheaper, because subconsciously it still has an effect, i.e. Bridgestone=durability, Pirelli= fragile.

Again, knwoing Pirelli makes them weak on purpose for the F1 to spice up the show, it has a negative affect on their brand in the public’s eye.


I find that strange, especially with the fact that there has not been one race yet, also that it has been clearly in the media of everyone wanting tyres that degrade more.

I think the mechanic wanted you to buy the more expensive tyre. If you really want to know their opinion on the best tyre just ask the boss what tyres he has on his car, and if he points out his car and tells you, you know he is being honest.

Me personally I would choose Pirelli allday long just because they are the F1 sponsor, hence their marketing strategy has worked on me!

Also if you really think that having a Bridgestone tyre on your car is something to do with it lasting longer, then maybe you should consider that having a Bridgestone tyre will mean you are a boring person, and having a Pirelli means you are exciting!



I had a similar thought, that if I were buying tires and had a slightly lower IQ, I’d be more likely to assume Bridgestones would last longer and Pirellis would wear faster, until I read the treadwear rating, and still might be influenced.

It can’t help them, the image of fast-wearing tires, can it? Bridgestone is probably loving all this free marketing, “the Bridgestones we so much more consistent and long-lasting and faster” etc. that we’ve been hearing and will still be hearing in the initial races at least.

Personally, though, I buy Michelins if I want longest-lasting tires with lowest rolling resistance, or so I’ve heard to be the case.


The environmental question is important too.


Really? That’s interesting. Anyone else had this experience


I think its a good idea to have different colours for different compounds.

I also think the fact the tyres wiil wear more therefore meaning more pit stops will liven up races.

One pit-stops last season made races boring a lot of the time last season.

Edward Valentine

Let’s say the average time lost in a pitstop is about 20-25 seconds. Is it possible for a driver to conserve tyres (drive at .75 of a second a lap slower for 15-20 laps) enough to make one less pitstop while being able to have a net gain over those who drive more aggressivly but need to make an extra stop or will the tyres just “drop off a cliff” in terms of performance after a few laps regardless?


That’s why this season is going to be so open. It looks like it won’t come down to outright pace in the car, but a mix of canny driving and smart strategy. Raw speed might get drivers to the front of the grid in qualy, but after that all the new variables kick in.

Edward Valentine

Indeed it won’t come down to outright pace, but what I’m asking is should there be any point to canny driving or will the new tyres drop off so significantly and very quickly thus negating the advantage given by conservative driving? I only ask this because I am a JB fan and though he is not the quickest on raw pace he may get the advantage with tyre mgmt.


Have you ever read so much moaning in all your life?! If I was Pirelli, after reading all this, I’d walk away, the fans do nothing but whinge.

Let’s remember that they are going out on a huge limb by producing less durable tyres for the sake of the show. For us. I think they deserve some more support, not just for that but for the color coding too. A racing wheel hasn’t even turned and already Pirelli have done more to engage the fans than bridgestone ever did… Pirelli > Bridgestone!


Completely agree!

Edward Valentine

Yep wholeheartedly agree!


To quote Pirelli’s press release:

“In order to make the differences between the prime and option tyre more pronounced Pirelli’s strategy is to offer a step of at least one compound between the tyres nominated for each race. If the track conditions require it though, this strategy may be revised.”

So the step between tyre compounds may be revised. This means we may end up with the white and silver tyres being used at the same event. If the Pirelli tyres prove to be too fragile, then it is conceivable that on a number of occasions the hard (silver) and medium (white) tyres will be used together. If they are, then it will be impossible to tell them apart when the cars are in motion.


Do you not think then that they may change the colour?


Yes I do. However it needlessly confuses the situation. It’s best to get it right and set in stone up front.

There is no regulation that enforces the gap between tyres specifications. In 2009, Bridgestone often chose not to have a gap (although they never used the hard and medium specifications together).

Given that Pirelli are a new supplier, their tyres degrade quicker than Bridgestone and the differences between their compounds is large, I can foresee they might not have the balance quite right. Hence they may want to bring harder tyre specifications without a gap to an event.


I understand your point but I think there intention was to have the 2 hardest compounds similar in colour as these will form the hardest tyre at each race.

I think they were trying to make it simple but as I say if they have to bring both the medium and hard compounds they will change the colour. I also don’t think this is there intention but I accept it could be an unlikely possiblity.


Yup, they have a shipment of light grey paint on standby.




I’m going to find it very difficult to cope with all this tyre nonsense on my old black & white portable telly…..


After 2 races and hundreds of laps watching the cars everybody will be familiarized with the tyre color and their´s specification.


Not to mention that I’m sure the TV commentators will be continually telling us what compound each driver is on.

It’s just not as complicated as some people are making it out to be. It’ll be fine.


58 comments on the colour of the words/logos on tyres that have been decided.

I believe people are colouring between the lines, and failing.


I thought it was quite a knowledgeable crowd here but the number of comments about white and silver has been surprising! They won’t appear together at the same race weekend people!!!!


We have a broad mix of knowledge levels here and that’s the way we want it.


I totally agree James. didn’t mean to sound eliteist! the on-board shots is a good point as the side walls of the tyre can’t be seen, the green stripe here obviously worked better.



Here’s an example of less-knowledgable: I wondered – is there also a radial coloured stripe around the middle of these tyres, that we can see from on-board-car cameras? Sometimes we only get blurred drives-past where it’s difficult to see the tyre wall colour, then cut back to on-board shots.


They could have pink polkadots…I just can’t wait to see them turning.


Something that would really, really help is having the tyre information on the live timing screen. Just one more column saying the type of tyre the driver has on would be awesome. Any way the suggestion can be passed along to those responsible?

About the colour selection…

Well, let’s see them on TV, but I think Yellow and Silver may look similar.


HARD: Yellow


SOFT: Blue


INTER: Green

WET: Orange

might be more discernible.

Do they want to avoid green because that was Bridgestone’s colour?


One more thing that occurred to me now on the topic of understanding what is going on!

Can the DRS system turn the car’s back/rain light on? It’d be one very easy way to show the system is in use.

At least as long as we get a back shot on TV.

Perhaps next year, if the system sticks, a new light (a line of bright LEDs on the edge) could be installed on the top of the wing.


Could go all out and have smoke trails installed. But seriously there was a Kers indicator broadcasted from the cars a few years ago which was made into quite a nice tv graphic I am sure there will be something similar this year. Good idea though!


They’ve taken the colours that are used in electric resistances, that’s why there is such a strange colour like silver.


Love it!!

There are people commenting on the most logical decision of keeping the harder 2 compounds closer in colour. This is so it’s easy to remember and yet people are complaining who don’t even know the rules!!!

Takes me back to the debate of the week where people want a return to ‘old racing’ forgetting that there wasn’t much racing in the past either!!


Do you know the rules? Please cite the regulation that enforces the gap between tyre compounds.

Love it!!


How about the rule that says they must stick to the colours? If they bring the 2 hardest compounds then they will change the colours. It really isn’t rocket science.

All pirelli are trying to do by having the white and silver is to have a common theme as there intention is that one of these tyres will be the hardest at each race. For me it is common sense but het I’m not pedantic!!


Because I imagine they want a seperate colour for the soft and supersoft as they are there performance tyre. I can only assume this as otherwise they would have just had a 2 colour formula.

Also, if you have lets say a purple/blue for the softer and super soft. Then a white/silver combo for the harder tyres people will get confused between which is which. One standardisation of white/silver is hard is easier to remember (for the casual viewer) as any other colour will be soft.


If it’s just common sense then why aren’t the two softer compounds also similarly coloured to continue this ‘theme’?

Because it’s not a theme, someone just got lazy and didn’t open a colour chart. Either that or they just hadn’t woken up properly when they chose them.


What Id like to see is the lowest quarter of my TV screen have a dashboard graphic with all the information from the car you are viewing, preferably from the drivers viewpoint. In the bottom part of the TV the BBC should put a dashboard like you are playing a F1 game. It could have the KERS bar, wing setting, speed and revs, g-meter, coloured wheel symbol showing what tyre type is on the car, the lot!! Everything you need to know could be on a dash like graphic onscreen all the time. But having said all that, I can absolutely gurantee that with MB and DC doing the commentary this year, we are going to be told more detail during this season than weve ever heard before about the cars, tyres and strategy developments. These 2 wont miss a trick because theyre too good. Im looking forward to the commentary almost as much as the racing this year!! #:)


Problem is, the BBC don’t control the on-screen graphics. That caomes through the FOM feed


FOM should show us more then. They’re up to so many things, the brake balance, fuel mixture, KERS status, the wing, when they can use the wing, how many ounces are left in the drink bottle (well, strike that), but I’d like to see more of HOW they’re doing what they’re doing, than just what they’re doing. If that were made public, it would be the same for everyone, having their data visible and seeing everyone else’s steering wheel settings.

When a race gets boring it would be something to stay interested about, “Oh look, my favorite driver is overheating his left-front tire, or has turned his engine down, what’s that going to do to us in 10 laps?”


I think you are right, you will get a lot of insight this year in commentary


Hi James,

Last year, you mostly saw the teams pitting their drivers a lap apart, but with the “drop off” of these new tyres being both severe and relatively sudden, do you see there being a big issue with both drivers needing to pit on the same lap??

How would you expect the teams to manage this situation??



Good question. A lot will be down to the drivers, but remember the one who pits FIRST is going to gain 4-6 seconds over the man he’s racing through new tyres performance. An advantage to the car following another


Is anyone else on here colour-blind?

Can’t they just put a number on them?

1 supersoft to 4 hard. Too simple?


Now that wouldn’t be very easy reading while the wheels spins at over 300 km/h, would it?


Sorry, there was a bit of irony intended there.

However, I would point out that for me, I can’t ‘read’ the colour at any damn speed.

There’s no problem really as the commentators will talk about which grade is on the car interminably.

My plea should be: can’t we just have tyres?

hold on, couldn’t they paint the numbers in different colours?


Do you think you could read the number on a spinning tire? (:


I don’t think I’m the only one asking this, but wouldn’t it be better to put the colours on the live timing screen than on the side of the tyre? I’d love to know at a glance what everyone is up to, e.g. faster laps by backmarkers, but the cameras tend to focus on a handful of front-running drivers.


+++ That would be good for sure…


White and silver are too close. Silver should be replaced with green making it very obvious.


SILVER and WHITE won’t run on the same weekend. Why is it so difficult to grasp.


Ok, I’m sure most people understand the White and Silver won’t run on the same weekend.

However, you must concede that the whole point of this tyre colouring exercise is to help distinguish between the individual compounds, not just between the softer and harder compounds on a given weekend, otherwise there would just be 2 colours like with Bridgestones, right?

So, with this in mind, no-one will be able to tell the difference between White and Silver in screen and we’re back to relying in the commentators telling us which one we’re racing during a weekend… and with no further ado, we’re back to square 1!

I find it funny that such an oversight can be made with such a simple solution, especially to a problem that didn’t exist in the first place.


Green should only be used if the tyres are manufactured from an ecologically sustainable, recyclable material.


Probably for about the fifth time now – The white and silver marked tyres will not be run together at the same race.

It will either be a combination of Red and White or of Yellow and Silver.

Should it ever be necessary for White and Silver to be run together (unlikely) it would not be beyond the wit of Pirelli to identify the compounds in a clearer way.


More like the 25th time.


To all of those moaning about the silver and white colours being hard to distinguish, please understand that these tyres won’t be running together within the same race!
And we will know in advance which of the two is running where, so no issues there.
And right because silver and white tyres won’t be ever running together this is exactly the reason why they were not colour coded in a very different shade.
Hope some of you will be able to grasp the logic!


Yes you are right Tex.


I grasp the logic, but what I don’t grasp is, if you’re going to make them different at all, why not make them distinguishably different. Look at that line of tires, it looks silly with the last two almost the same. Put green at right.


James, will these ‘fragile’ tyres wear out quickly at slower speeds behind a safety car?

If they will, don’t you think cars will be compelled to follow the safety car into the pit lane? Or perhaps they will opt to pit one lap before the safety car is due to come in.

If there are two or more extended safety car periods, cars will be compelled to pit at least 5 times. Will there be enough tyres to complete a race distance? Is there a fundamental safety issue brewing?

I personally think Pirelli has gone to the other extreme. The quickest car/driver combination may not win the WDC.

What are your thoughts?


One point to recall is that if you pit behind S Car – you HAVE to change tyres now


I agree with all the comments on how difficult it could be to distinguish white from silver. But generally, I think this whole idea involves too many colours anyways that it’ll be hard to remember any at all! They only bring two specs of dry tires in GPs anyways, so why didn’t they just stick with what Bridgestone used to do (i.e. just coluoring one spec), and just add to that by likewise colouring the wet and intermediates to distinguish them from one another?

Fast degrading tires + adjustable rear wings (KERS is okay)… F1 is turning into “Mario Kart” or “Twisted Metal” or something!


BTW James, your copyright notice in the footer needs changing – it still says copyright 2010.


One thing that annoys me during a race weekend. Say the compounds brought are medium and supersoft. Instead of then referring to the compounds as plainly “hard” and “soft”, they still call it medium and supersoft, which slightly complicates things for me. I might just be in the minority here though.


Explaining this will give DC and Brundle something to fill in the on-air time whenever the cars are playing follow the leader!

I wonder how much mileage Mark Hughes will get out of the tyre label colours…


I think there is a habbit to call them prime and option from what I recall.


Silver vs white?

gg Pirelli -.-


lol @ gg

Geek. -_-


Is it just me, or has someone made a real boob?

With all the colours of the rainbow at your disposal, you pick WHITE and SILVER???

I rarely resort to this but… WTF?

I understand that medium and hards are unlikely to be the 2 options at one race but still, surely it makes more sense to make one of them not almost the same colour!


Someone needs a serious talking to. Selecting 4 colours that are different from each other is NOT a difficult exercise. Several toddlers will testify to this.

At least it’s worth a laugh.


I agree, if you’re going to make them different, then make them distinguishable. At 100 mph on TV in varying conditions, they might as well have saved the money on the silver paint and just used white for both, for all the difference it will make.

There are so may colors, why be so limited? And the orange should be more different from the yellow, and the red more different from the orange. Pirelli, try “Pyrrole Orange” and “Quinacridone Red”, ain’t no-one gonna mistake those for each other, or anything else, and they’re common and cheap pigments. Also try “Hansa Yellow Medium”, which is deeper and better contrasting with White.


Silver AND white, is that not going to be a wee bit tricky to spot on TV??


What?? NO Hot Pink?

But how will we attract more female viewers? Isn’t there a campaign to get more women into F1? Some-body wasn’t thinking clearly here!


There could be some doubts on television between the silver and the white color, so maybe green was a better choice for one of this colors.

I like the idea of painting the letters of the pirelli brands in different colors on the tyres, it´s more good looking than the stripes on the bridgestones last year.


The only reasoning I can think of behind using both silver and white is that because of the tyre ruling, there is a gap between the two tyre compounds used on a race weekend… therefore the Medium and the Hard tyre would never be used together, it would be Silver and Yellow together or White and Red together.


If the top teams are capable of getting in to Q2 using the hard tyre, surely that will make it easier for the likes of HRT to make the 107% time; as the fastest time will be significantly slower than it could be.

And why do you think they went for both Silver and White instead of maybe Green??


I like what they are doing with the colours. It should make things easier to understand. I just wish they hadn’t decided to use both silver and white. These 2 colours look too similar. It shouldn’t matter though of course because they are not going to be running the hard and medium tyre at the same event….as far as I know.


A nice idea, but no green seems odd since we are already used to that being the soft “option” tyre.

Silver seems silly and will be a bit too easily confused with the white IMO.

This would have been better IMO:

Super-soft – Green

Soft – Yellow

Medium – White

Hard – Red

Orange seems sensible for best visibility in the full wet conditions.


Green implies “friendly to our environment” – maybe not the most appropriate label colour for the tyres that will wear out the quickest!


That doesn’t work for colour blind people if they use hard and SS at one weekend.

I would have prefered

Hard – Super Soft





Green – Inters

Blue – Full Wet

Only problem hits if you use hard and then to inters. But the water on track may show


That’s a good point about colour-blindness, which I hadn’t considered.


Silver and white look a bit similar. Looking forward to aus Quali


I agree


So when worn down a little.. pale, pale, pale and red. Not sure I’ll be able to tell the difference between those speeds at high speed.


i am a bit concerned that the grey and silver will look the same to the naked eye.

have u seen both in action James and is it easy to tell the difference between the two?


Sorry i meant white and silver


As stated above by several, Hard goes with Soft, Medium with Super Soft. I’m not expecting to haev to differentiat between the Medium and Hard in one race.

They are making them soft for a reason. Making them soft and with a lap time gap between them before giving two hard ones close together is counter intuitive.

If they do put Medium and Hard in for a weekend I’m guessing they will do something to differentiate them all for you.


That is correct


I believe the tire to be used for each weekend will be these combination hard/soft and medium/supersoft. So silver or white differentiation will be nonissue


I take it we won’t be seeing white and silver at the same race?




maybe Pirelli will be forced if their tyres are too fragile for a given event. I understand they want the tyres to last 15 to 20 laps but imagine a circuit where the soft can’t handle more than 5 6 laps, they’ll be forced to take the medium and hard to that event.


This will be much better than the old green stripe. A lot clearer to actually get different colours for each compound.

Not long to go now, very excited !!


Someone in a another discussion pointed out that since the tires are quite fragile we don’t need so many versions.

I know that we only have 2 drys at each race, but do they need to choose them from 4 dry types? Could they not reduce this down to 2 dry, intermediate and wet tire – period? Do we need 4 types/colors of dry tire really?


there will only ever be 2 types of dry tyre at a race weekend. never 4…


I have to say I don’t think this will be much use to anyone, as 90% of shots of F1 cars where you get enough chance to focus and take in details, are from the front or rear as they come towards or go away from you. It is pretty hard to pick up the colour on a tire, I expect, as they go past at 150+MPH… They need rings on them like the bridgestones had.

Quick plug for prediction game:


Is a very good idea to show the colours on the side also for those in the stands and even for those watching on TV, but silver and white? When those wheels will be spinning..I bet you won’t be able to make the difference between white and silver..or yellow and orange.

James, I want to ask, do you know if from the on-board camera we will be able to know what tyres are on the car? Will the tyres have those lines which Bridgestone had? I am asking because if not, from the on-board camera we wont be able to see the sides of the tyres, obviously.



That is another good point, with the stripes, you could see them when the car was coming toward camera, and the onboard footage too…


With such big writing, it should be easy to spot; better than a thin green line, at least. Not sure about white and silver though. Sure, you’ll only have one at a given weekend, but if you don’t know in advance which options are available at a race, I’d be surprised if one could tell the difference between spinning white and spinning silver. But good on them for putting viewers first.


Why didn’t they include green colour code, silver and white are to close to distinct?


Here’s a theory: between silver, white, yellow, red and blue, every team will be able to find a colour to match their livery for publicity shots. So no need for green (a mid green would match neither Lotus BRG nor Petronas turquoise).


I was thinking the same thing but I realised from some of the other comments that red-green colour blind people wouldnt be able to tell the difference. Maybe that is why?


not to be cynical, but i think its more likely they didnt want to be associated with the ‘green’ bstone


I found the green hard to see on TV shots

Chris of Adelaide

I like the fact that Pirelli have coloured each of there tyres differently, its going to make it much more clear. Im not sure about the white and silver tho….this might be a little hard to spot the difference @ 300km/ph


As a viewer with a colour deficiency I think that it’s going to be an issues to distinguish between the silver and white at speed!


well then it’s lucky those two colours will never appear at the same race together! Pirelli are always bringing two compounds a step apart from each other. (ir. hard/soft or medium supersoft)


yes, but how will viewers know, unless they read the F1 news, if Pirelli have bought the hard or the medium? we’d have to base this knowledge on what the softest tyre is. Therefore it becomes more complicated.


Because the commentators mention it at every pitstop. Besides, anyone who cares enough WILL read about it beforehand.


Hopefully will be easier to see than the Bridgestone green strip.

The white stripe Bridgestone ran in 07/08 was fine but the green stripe they ran in 09/10 was difficult to see at times. Was especially bad on the Mercedes last year which had the green Petronas stripe around the wheel rim.

The white & Silver would be hard to tell apart but since its unlikely they would run the Medium & Hard on the same weekend it wont be a problem.


Silver and white seem rather too similar – why not green?


That’s the same though I had, change Silver to Green. Yellow and Green will contrast better than Yellow and Silver, and we’d know whether it’s the medium or hard at a glance.


I think that may be to avoid troubling people with red/green colour blindness who may not be able to tell the difference. But I agree, I’d love to see green or another more drastically different colour than white and silver. If noting else it’e, er, my favourite colour…


So in Canada this year, cheese grater central, only 11 sets of tyres all weekend?


good point there. Should be an interesting race though!


James, how do you feel the presence of Pirelli will harm its reputation? Although their brief was to have tyres which wore out more quickly and now they are having colours on their tyres which are not part of their branding. Do you think these reasons harm Pirellis branding and awareness?


With so many pit stops, the Pirelli name will be mentioned again and again. And remember, at the end of the year the world champ will have ‘Pirelli’ all over the wheels of his car.

If the degradation of the tyres makes for exciting races, then that’s more press, more viewers and more ‘impressions’ for Pirelli.


If the show is improved and the commentators do their job, Pirelli can be seen as HELPING the sport, rather then harming it. If they are seen as helping the sport, surely there is some positive PR in that?

That’s during the early stages when the tyres will be at their worst. Let alone when things improve.

Even the team principals and drivers can help by mentioning it in the post race interviews.

All of this assumes that it actually will improve the show, we’ll have to wait and see.


YOu have to take a three year view. Looks difficult to start with but I’m sure it will change as the year goes on


This is a great idea! Hopefully the colour will be clearly visible when the tyre is spinning.


I have to say that’s really bad colour coding. Why orange for a full wet? You think it would be blue. But no, the intermediate tyre is blue!


I think that’s sensible; let me explain. If it’s bucketing down with water, enough to need the full wet tyre, then cars are not going to be running around on any dry tyres – at leat not for more than a fraction of a lap. So that means that the full wet won’t be seen with either of the 2 tyres it could conceivable be confused with: the super-soft and the soft.

On the other hand, once a track starts drying (or when it’s just drizzle coming down), then cars will be on the intermediates. Under those conditions, either they’ll be coming off of full wets onto intermediates, in which case some cars will have the orange wets and some the blue inters, or they’ll be coming off inters and onto drys, in which case the blue won’t be confused with any of the dry compounds.

So I think it was a good move and well thought out to make the inter stand out like it does.


I guess that’s why I don’t work for pirelli!

Mr R. Ubber
Bridgestone tyre Corp.


Presumably because orange is more visible than blue during heavy rain.


Do you think in heavy down poor and low light, blue would stand out better than orange ?


Nice I like this, I presume that we always see a gap of two tyres, and will never see the medium and soft (white and silver) together


I think you’re right. We’re most likely to see in the dry Red or Yellow and Silver or White. Unlikely to see Red and Yellow or White and Silver running together in qualifying or the race.


As someone who is colorblind, I’m happy with the color choices they’ve used (avoiding a red/green conflict).

With the tires being such a huge part of the show this year, my hope is that the TV graphics package changes and puts greater emphasis on the tires each car is on at a given time. Maybe the name of the driver could be color coded to the tire that they are using at a given time? I’m sure there’s a solution that can work for both casual fans and F1’s core audience.


F1’s getting a bit complicated for me… and I suppose tyre colours are just the easier part to grasp.


It gives us all something to talk about, and journalists something to fill a few column inches with!


Great idea using different colours; this should now be as easy as Indycar to see the tyre compounds.

What I don’t understand is the hard compound. Every colour is easy to spot except the different between medium (white) and hard (silver). I understand that medium and hard will not be used in the same race weekend, but the rules change quickly in F1 and if they do we’ll be struggling to see the difference.

On the whole though, good move.


Is it easy to tell the difference between white and silver because given how fragile are the Pirellis the company might be forced to use the Hard and Medium tyres for certain races.

Another result of this year’s tyres fragility is that we will need really great directors to cover the races because they’ll be as much cars on the circuit as in the pitlane and to cover everything it’ll be quite challenging.


Looking forward to another season of your analyses! Hopefully you will have me on the floor laughing again!


did I say something funny or stupid ?


Funny of course!


I think overall that it will be easier to tell which tyre is being used than the Bridgestone markings. And I like that they’re also color coding the wet tyres.


They should just have 1 dry tire, 1 wet tire and race. The end.


Almost agree. One dry set with soft or hard compound and one wet. That should be it.

I can’t believe the most important subject this year is tyres. If F1 wants to increase its viewing figures this dull subject isn’t going to turn them on.


We almost had that last year with the durable Bridgestones, and quite frankly it was a bit dull.


You must have watched another F1 season or sport than I was watching?


I agree. THIS is your dry tire, THESE are your tracks. Go for it. Then we would see an unpredictable year, finally.


I’m not thrilled about this decision. The separate colors for every compound are a needless complication, because we never have more than two compounds of dry tire at any given race weekend. It’s the job of our commentators to detail what those compounds are, and in my experience watching coverage from three continents, they’ve done that just fine — we don’t need extra confusion in marking colors trying to reinvent the wheel.

As for the colored logos, Bridgestone already tried much the same thing, as I recall, and it was basically invisible whenever cars were moving at race speeds. It stands to reason, with more than half the circumference of the tire being black, that these colors will be little more than a dim blur when the car’s moving — especially on television. The only time we’ll be able to see these markings is during the oh-so-artsy slo-mo replays, and when cars are sitting still on the grid. If fans are to have a chance of keeping track of who is on which rubber, Bernie’s camera crews and directors are going to have to get a LOT better at getting us side views of the entire grid, and of everybody’s pit stop — no small task, given the much greater number of stops we’re expecting.

Frankly, I expect this to be chaos, with all but the most hard core fans unable to keep track of who’s racing on which rubber. Since there’s no grooves any more, we need a thick colored band around the sidewall, preferably on both sides of the tire. Anything less is a disservice to Formula One fans.

I’ve been an enthusiastic advocate of Pirelli entering F1 (although I’d much rather see two tyre companies competing), but I fear they’ve made their first major misstep.


I feel like Pirelli have been very open to comments on the tires. If this tire markings are a disaster, hopefully Pirelli will go back to a more traditional tire marking formula.

As for the colors, I wish they would have used more exciting colors… Where’s the Pink or Lime Green? And for the night races they should use glow in the dark colors.


in that blur mather, i think that transmission in HD will help this year


Remember not everybody is blessed with HD as they can’t afford the televisions like some of us lucky people I know pirelli want to advertise but the band worked previously with bridgestone why reinvent the wheel ? I may be wrong but we may well be needing a specsavers moment after squuinting to see which colour of marking the tyre has ; ) james as ever this is the best forum of articles and a good mix of views and discussions keep doing what you do right ; )


Why are there two medium tyre compounds (white and red)?


white is medium and red is super soft.


It might be hard to differentiate between the white and the silver. Not the smartest choice by Pirelli


There has to be two grades between the two slick tyre compounds for each race weekend I think. So at each race the silver or white will be the hardest compounds available


Just one grade between both compounds for the weekend:

“In order to make the differences between the prime and option tyre more pronounced, Pirelli’s strategy is to offer a step of at least one compound between the tyres nominated for each race. If the track conditions require it though, this strategy may be revised.”

More info


silvers and reds for every race*


Oops, that’s what I meant two grades difference instead of two grades between. Two between would be whites and reds for every race :).


How easy will it really be to differentiate the hard (silver/grey) from the medium (white) at speed? Or the soft from the wet? Not convinced that these markings will really resolve the problem of viewers being able to tell which spec of tyres cars are on in the heat of battle.

Firestone’s IndyCar tyre marking solution is miles better for fans and TV viewers alike.


Well on a drying track most cars would be on inters (blue), so the switch to slick tyres would either be onto S-Soft (red) or Soft (yellow). So hopefully that wouldn’t be an issue.

Also I don’t think any of the tracks have such a high degradation that Pirelli would have to use the Medium as the softest compound, and therefore the Hard tyre at the same time.


Indeed, Jean Alesi’s been retired for a long time now so I doubt we’ll see full wets and slicks on track at the same time.


Now that takes me back – British GP 1991, Friday morning, FP1. Pouring (and I mean pouring) rain and one Jean Alesi attempting to go inappropriately fast through a saturated woodcote corner. At times the man was an artist..

That attitude is one of the reasons I’ve always loved this sport!


Because of the compound jump in all races, medium and hard tyres will never be used in the same race.


Will Silver and White ever appear at the same race, because I can foresee difficulties telling them apart.


Yeh just thinking the same thing. I think the colors should be better seperated. More importantly though I do want to see very different wear rates.

Maybe there should be allocated sets in that if you choose the supersoft you are only allowed to go up say two specifications and that may rule out the hardest specification?

Just a thought?

But bring on Melbourne I always see the first race of the year live. 5AM right?

Good go out and stay up on Saturday night.

1 = Alcahol

2 = Taxi – sorry Limo!!!! :<(

3 = Woman

4 = F1

5 = Sleep until Monday.



No, it will allways be red-white or yellow-silver.


Not necessarily – from F1 official website – “Pirelli’s strategy is to offer a step of at least one compound between the tyres nominated for each race. If the track conditions require it though, this strategy may be revised”.

I seem to remember Bridgestone used ‘next door neighbours’ at Monaco and possibly races like Spa, Monza and Singapore (the more extreme ones). I may be mistaken about the details (could somebody confirm either way?), but I’m almost certain Bridgestone closed the gap occasionally.


I have already mentioned this a bit further down Roonmastor but…

The only reasoning I can think of behind using both silver and white is that because of the tyre ruling, there is a gap between the two tyre compounds used on a race weekend… therefore the Medium and the Hard tyre would never be used together, it would be Silver and Yellow together or White and Red together.


Not under the current rules – the dry tyres have to be two compounds apart so we’ll only ever see silver and yellow, or red and white.

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