Haas are the first team out of the blocks for the 2018 F1 car launches. Here is a first look at the VF-18 and the controversial Halo driver protection system.
Haas are the first team to reveal images of its 2018 car in a surprise online launch on Wednesday. The team released photos photos of the all new VF-18 along with the tagline, ‘Bigger. Better. Faster. Lighter.’
Team owner, Gene Haas, hopes that this will be the car to enable them to close the gap up to the top teams saying,
“We eliminated a lot of the variables where we knew we were weak. We’ve focused on what it’s going to take to get our car to be consistent and close that gap to the top teams.”
The most noticeable differences on the car compared to last years VF-17 are the re-vamped livery and the addition of the Halo driver protection system. Haas have moved away from the corporate grey, to a more striking red, white and black design; keeping the halo black to minimize the visual impact of the safety device.
The visuals were not the only area where the Halo caused difficulty, revealed Guenther Steiner.
“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.
Other visible changes are the presence of new aerodynamic winglets around the sidepod area of the car.
Some critics have noted the strong similarity the VF-18 bears to Ferrari’s 2017 challenger, the SF70-H. This should come as little surprise considering the teams technical partnership with the Italian outfit.
Haas may have stronger competition this year from Sauber, who also have a technical partnership with the team, albeit under the Alfa Romeo branding. Unlike last year, the Swiss team are set to receive the latest engine package from Ferrari.