October 20, 2018 / 5:09 PM / 23 days ago

Motor racing: Formula One's 'rainbow range' of tires simplified for 2019

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Pirelli’s Formula One tires will have just three different sidewall colors next year — white, yellow and red to identify hard, medium and soft options.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi, Russia - September 27, 2018 General view of mechanics and Pirelli tyres REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

This season has seen seven colors used in a ‘rainbow’ range of tires stretching from super-hard through hard, medium, soft, super-soft, ultra-soft and hyper-soft.

Compounds will still vary in 2019 to suit individual track characteristics, with the soft used at twisty Monaco very different from the same color code at high-speed Silverstone or Suzuka.

Pirelli told reporters at the U.S. Grand Prix that the number of compounds available to teams would become known in December after the governing FIA had given formal approval.

The sport’s sole tire maker said the new system would make it easier for the casual fan to know what was being used while more detail would still be available to those who wanted it.

“We’ve been talking about this with the teams, FIA and Formula One for a while,” said Pirelli’s racing head Mario Isola.

“The idea behind the change is to make all the tires more easily recognizable and explainable — specially for television — while still clearly denoting which specific compounds are being used at each race.”

Isola had said in January, in the face of concern that the rash of names and colors would be confusing for fans, that Pirelli felt using just three tire designations would be ‘dumbing down’ the sport.

Harder tires are slower over a lap but longer lasting while softer ones are quicker but lose performance sooner.

Three tire types from within the range are currently selected for each race.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Martyn Herman

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