Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner says the introduction of the Halo cockpit protection device has caused a significant redesign to the its car chassis but is content the new VF-18 can help the team progress in 2018.

The US squad has taken pole position to reveal its 2018 F1 challenger by becoming the first team to release official images of its new car, the VF-18, which incorporates the Halo.

After back-to-back eighth place finishes in the F1 World Constructors’ championship in its first two years in the sport, Haas is eager to climb the grid this season with the continuation of its Ferrari engine partnership.

With Ferrari power and an evolution on its 2017 F1 car, Haas boss Steiner is confident his engineering squad has managed the challenge of the Halo while still maintaining its key chassis strengths from last year.

“The biggest part of the car’s evolution was the addition of the halo,” Steiner said. “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.”

Steiner also says the Haas livery tweak, with more white and grey working with the red and black of the company’s trademark appearance, is a move back to its debut F1 design from 2016.

“The livery is a little bit of a return to what we had on our first car, the VF-16,” he added. “Its look is clean and precise, just like the machine tools made by Haas Automation.”

The Haas VF-18 will make its track debut at pre-season testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 26.