Hard, medium and soft compounds to return for 2019


While the tender for F1's tyre supply from 2020 stipulates a return to a simplified naming system, Pirelli has opted to jump the gun, the Italian manufacturer revealing that from next season three compounds used over race weekends will be referred to as hard, medium and soft.

Though there are still likely to be as many as the seven current compounds, which will vary from race to race as they do at present, in a bid to simplify matters for the less technical fan, over race weekends the three compounds on offer will merely be referred to as hard, medium and soft.

"That is the plan," says 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," he continued, "but the three colours are still under discussion.

"It was a request coming from F1 and the FIA," he revealed, "and we made the necessary changes in order to achieve that for 2019. 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.

"During the pre-season test I imagine that there will be some confusion!" he admitted. "But hopefully we can fix it with races, where we have the three compounds. It is a complete change of approach compared to the past."

Of course, those familiar with team radio broadcasts will be aware that the tyres are rarely referred to as hypersofts or ultrasofts.

"They are still talking about prime, option and qualifying," says Isola, "so it's something that's coming probably from fifteen years ago! We cannot change this, but now we have hard, medium and soft, maybe they can use these names."

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Published: 28/08/2018
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