This year’s F1 cars in many ways bear a resemblance to the cars that made up the 2017 grid – and which broke all but one lap record – albeit with one small yet important change.
For 2018 the FIA has made the halo safety device mandatory, and Haas’ VF-18 is our first look at how the new cars will incorporate with the divisive addition.
While the VF-18 has the much maligned halo, it should be noted that its form shown in the reveal pictures is unlikely to be representative of the safety device’s final design when the car rolls onto the Jerez circuit in Spain for testing.
Under the 2018 regulations teams are allowed to modify the halo to integrate it with the aerodynamic design of the car. Expect to see various halo concepts tested by the 2018 teams at Jerez and a variety approaches when cars roll out onto the circuit for the Australian F1GP season opener at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne next month.
Haas, while revealing the overall shape and look of its 2018 car, has done well to hide all the most important parts.
Shot against a black background, key aerodynamic areas are well hidden. Fine details of the front wing elements, barge boards, shark fin, side pods, and rear diffuser are shrouded in shadow, and cannot be made out clearly.
It’s likely this is a deliberate move to avoid close scrutiny by other teams who still have some time to tweak their aero packages before the season gets underway, just as Haas will continue development of these parts of its cars right up until the first pre-season test on February 26 to March 1.
Williams is hosting a pre-season event tomorrow and may be the next team to reveal a 2018 F1 car. A flurry of debuts will follow until Toro Rosso and Force India show their contenders at the Jerez track on Feb 26.