Pirelli's Mario Isola: 'It's all about allowing drivers to attack'

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Soft or hard? Thick or thin? Three or seven colours? It’s not easy to please everyone when you're Formula 1's sole tyre manufacturer, an environment where competition rhymes with search for excellence. But for Pirelli, the quest for challenges is part of its DNA as Mario Isola, Director of the F1 department since 2011, tells F1i's Guillaume Alvarez ahead of the 2019 season.


For 2019, Pirelli has decided to modify its tyre denomination from seven to five compounds for teams and drivers. What are the reasons behind this change?

"I was personally in favour of the “rainbow system” but we also have to accept the reality that some spectators watching Sunday’s races are not interested in these tyre debates.

"In that regard, the rainbow colours were making their lives more difficult, especially when we added yellow or purple compounds to mix things up. The FIA and FOM also admitted that it was probably too complicated, so we needed to find another solution that became this idea of three compounds and colours per race.

"This solution has an impact on our work but we produce batches of tyres for each Grand Prix to make sure that it remains consistent through different periods of the year.

"The teams pay attention a lot to details and, with this system, we can also consider having different colours for the same compound. So, I believe that this new structure will be easier to understand once you have in mind that white is the hardest, the red the softest and the yellow is the one in the middle. But I’ve read online that some people are already critical of this new choice, so you can never make everybody happy (laughs)!"