Formula One will adopt its own version of Champ Car-type 'red tyre' markings this season to make it easier for fans to understand what compounds drivers are using, autosport.com can reveal.
Following an 11th hour decision by the Formula One Commission and the FIA's World Motor Sport Council, a modification to F1's sporting regulations means that the two different tyre compounds must now be visibly different.
This comes after months of discussions between the teams, the FIA and Bridgestone about the situation - and how best to make the most of the regulations that forces drivers to use both hard and soft compounds in races.
Although there was a push to try and help inform the fans of what type of tyres drivers were using by making the different types of rubber look different, the teams initially resisted any move to publicise what they were doing for fear it could benefit the opposition.
As late as January it appeared that all attempts to make teams go public with their plans had failed, and instead, as Autosport revealed at the time, the FIA considered forcing teams to simply state what type of tyres they would start the race with.
However, further discussions in recent weeks have now resulted in a last-minute rule change that requires the two different compounds at races to be 'visibly' different - so the public will know what tyres each driver is using.
Formula One's revised 2007 Sporting Regulations states: "Each tyre supplier must undertake to provide no more than two specifications of dry-weather tyre at each Event, each of which must be of one homogenous compound and visibly distinguishable from one another when a car is on the track." (emphasis added)
Autosport.com understands that discussions are now taking place within Bridgestone to decide exactly what it will do to the tyres to make them appear different. A decision needs to be made soon, however, with the season starting in Australia next weekend.
A Bridgestone spokeswoman confirmed that a simple marking would be used to distinguish the tyres, as opposed to a completely different colour sidewall or tyre, as done in Champ Car.
"There will be a marking on one of the different specification of tyres," she said.
Although it has not been finalised yet, the most likely route that will be taken is for one of the compounds to be marked with a large solid white circle - big enough to ensure that the white colour is visible when the wheel is in motion.
Although it was originally suggested that F1 could follow Champ Car's example and paint the sidewall of the softer tyres red, Bridgestone baulked at that suggestion because of the costs it would entail.
The company's former technical manager Hisao Suganuma told autosport.com last year that such a move could lead to a lot of wasted tyres - because a soft tyre that needed to be painted red at one race could be a medium tyre at the following race.
"Taking account of the production of such tyres, we need to think," explained Suganuma. "For example, in Champ Car softer tyres have the red mark on the sidewall.
"Maybe we would have some difficulty because the softer tyre on a circuit may be the harder tyre on another circuit, which means we need to have all the different specifications in double colours - one with a standard sidewall and the other with a coloured sidewall.
"That makes it more difficult. If we need to do that we should think about the best way to do it."