Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Splash & Dash - Which tyre are they on?

Pirelli have replaced Bridgestone as the sole tyre supplier to Formula 1 teams from the 2011 year, entering Formula 1 with an unwritten mandate from the teams, press, promoters, fans and the commercial rights holder to make tyres that degrade faster than they have in recent years in order to promote overtaking and errors and consequently improve the show.

With the greater emphasis on tyres and tyre selection, it is really quite difficult to determine who is on what tyre at any point in time.  This causes confusion not only to the casual observer, but also to the seasoned fan, the commentators and the rest of the paddock.

Currently the only method for determining which tyres are on a particular car, you need to be able to see the sidewall of the tyres with a television picture clear enough to determine whether the Pirelli logo is yellow or silver or white or red or blue or orange.  While all of these colours won't be present at any given race, there will always be the orange and blue in wet conditions and 2 of the other colours in dry conditions.

In order to reduce the confusion, and make it easier for the viewers of the sport, I propose a couple of simple changes:
  1. Include in the car data available to broadcasters the tyre that each car is currently using
  2. Indicate next to each car on the position totem graphic on the television broadcast which tyre each car is currently using
  3. Indicate next to each car on the live timing on the tyres each car is currently using

The tyre indicators could be by coloured dots that are consistent with the coloured sidewalls or alternatively the indicator could be by letter ie H (hard), M (medium), S (soft), SS (supersoft), I (intermediate), W (wet).  A third alternative is to combine the two concepts with either coloured letters or letters within the coloured dots.

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