Haas kicks off launch season with VF-18

Haas has become the first team to show off images of its 2018 Formula 1 car, 12 days before the opening test of the year in Spain.

Haas, Formula 1’s newest entrant, placed eighth in last season’ Constructors’ Championship, repeating the position it achieved during its rookie campaign.

However, it racked up substantially more points, courtesy of scoring across both cars, with Kevin Magnussen joining Romain Grosjean in contributing to Haas’ tally.

Former Renault and Lotus driver Grosjean, with Haas since the team’s inception, will continue into 2018, and will again be partnered by Magnussen.

It marks the first time that the Dane has spent a second season racing for the same team, after previous stints with McLaren (2014) and Renault (2016) lasted just one year.

“The biggest part of the car’s evolution was the addition of the halo,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team.

“It took quite a bit of study by the aerodynamicists, but the designers had to work hard to modify the chassis so the halo could survive the mandated loads.

"The total minimum weight of the car increased because of the halo, and there’s a higher center of gravity simply because of the halo’s position. But, everyone is in the same boat.

“The regulations stayed pretty stable between 2017 and 2018, so the VF-18 is an evolution of our car from last year. It’s less about reinvention and more about refinement. You see elements we had from last year on the car this year.

“Our 2017 car was actually pretty good, but we didn’t always get the best out of it, and that’s what we aimed to change in 2018. We got the car as light as possible to carry more ballast. We were able to do a better job of putting the weight where we wanted it.”

Haas’ unexpectedly early unveiling kicks off the start of a busy launch phase, with Williams set to display its 2018 package on Thursday, ahead of a raft of unveilings next week.

Red Bull (Monday), Sauber and Renault (Tuesday), Mercedes and Ferrari (Thursday) and McLaren (Friday) will all present their cars to the watching world.

Pre-season testing will begin at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 26, with Toro Rosso and Force India poised to launch prior to the green light at 09:00.

Formula 1 has retained relatively stable technical regulations, after last year’s overhaul, with the most drastic change the introduction of the halo, the smaller 'shark fin', and reduction in the permitted number of power units.