Credit to Pirelli for reacting to feedback and going ahead with simplifying its range of tyres for the 2019 season. Next year marks Pirelli’s final year with F1 in its current contract, and every weekend, dry compounds will exclusively consist of a white-banded Hard tyre, a yellow-banded Medium and a red-banded Soft.
The actual compounds for the three slots will change to accommodate the characteristics of each venue, but crucially, the colours will remain consistent. Pirelli’s racing director Mario Isola said,
“We wanted to eliminate the rainbow as we had too many colours – so we wanted to have just three. The idea is to give a number to each compound. We are currently discussing that, because I’ve had a chat now with the engineers – they prefer a letter for the system.
But basically we will have a clear identification of each compound. So if we are going to homologate five compounds, there will be one, two, three, four, five, and we give you the information in advance, so you know that for this race the hard is number two, the medium is three, the soft is four.
So, you can compare at different circuits. But for spectators there will be three colours.”
Incoming jokes about a hard number two are inevitable, but nothing close to the extent of Superhard innuendo that plagued the start of this season. A re-brand of allocation such as this one obviously has no bearing on the nature of the compounds teams get either. Will the one-stopper still prevail? How soft will the hards really be? Food for thought with potential rival supplier Hankook putting in a bid for the F1 contract from 2020.
But for 2019, Pirelli has clearly reacted well to fan feedback, and has actually executed what the FIA want from then over the years too. Any critique of how Pirelli has created the current compounds shouldn’t be directed at Pirelli, as they are simply fulfilling a brief set by the FIA.