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Six colour codes to differentiate Pirelli tyres 18 Mar 2011

Pirelli's six Formula One tyre types for 2011 - (L to R) wet, intermediate, super soft, soft, medium, hard Pirelli's soft Formula One tyre Pirelli's intermediate Formula One tyre

Italian tyre manufacturers Pirelli, embarking on the first season of a three-year agreement to supply Formula One, have revealed the colours that will distinguish the six different types of rubber that will be used throughout 2011.

Each type will carry its own distinct colouring on the Pirelli and PZero logos affixed to the sidewall. Under the sport's rules, only two compounds of slick tyre - known as the prime and the option - will be used for each race. In addition to this, intermediate and wet tyres can be fitted if it rains.

The six colours are as follows:
Wet - orange
Intermediate - light blue
Super soft - red
Soft - yellow
Medium - white
Hard - silver

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.

The prime and option tyres for the first three Grands Prix of the year - Australia, Malaysia and China - will be hard and soft compounds, meaning that silver and yellow tyres will be first to make an appearance in Melbourne.

"We' re very excited by the prospect of returning to Formula One for the first time in 20 years, and we're aiming to be a proactive and colourful partner in Formula One,” commented Pirelli's Motorsport Director Paul Hembery. “So what better way to symbolise this than a brightly coloured selection of Pirelli logos to run on the sidewalls? These will enable both live and television audiences to tell at a glance who is on what compounds, which will be vital knowledge as tyres are set to form a key part of race strategy this year."

Pirelli is no stranger to brightly-coloured tyres: when the firm was previously involved in Formula One, the Benetton team was supplied with multi-coloured rubber to run as part of their ‘United Colors’ campaign back in 1986.