Italian firm Pirelli, embarking on the first season of a three-year agreement to supply Formula One with tires, has revealed the colors that will be used to distinguish the six different types of tire that will be used throughout the season.

In order to tell the six tires apart, each will carry its own distinct coloring on the Pirelli and PZero logos affixed to the sidewall. Under the sport's rules, only two compounds of slick tire - known as the prime and the option - will be used for each race. In addition to this, intermediate and wet tires can be fitted if it rains.

The colors reflect the unique personality of each tire, enabling viewers to tell instantly not only which is the prime and the option tire, but also exactly which type of tire is fitted to each car.

The six colors are as follows:

  • Wet - orange
  • Intermediate - light blue
  • Supersoft - red
  • Soft - yellow
  • Medium - white
  • Hard - silver

The wet tire is used in case of heavy rain, while the intermediate is for a damp or drying track. The supersoft provides plenty of speed at the expense of durability, while the soft tire lasts a bit longer but is still more biased towards performance. The medium tire is a balanced compromise, while the hard tire is the most durable of all. Seeing how the teams use the different characteristics of these tires as part of their strategy will provide a vivid spectacle this year, designed to please the crowds.

In order to make the differences between the prime and option tire more pronounced Pirelli's strategy is to offer a step of at least one compound between the tires nominated for each race. If the track conditions require it though, this strategy may be revised.

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

Pirelli's Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said: "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 colorful partner in Formula One. So what better way to symbolize this than a brightly colored 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 tires are set to form a key part of race strategy this year."

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

The opening race of the 2011 Formula One season, the Australian Grand Prix, takes place at Albert Park in Melbourne on March 27 with 24 Pirelli-equipped cars lined up to take the start at 17:00 local time.

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