First 2018 F1 cars launched ahead of first tests

THIS is the most optimistic time of the year as a new season of Formula 1 approaches the period just before testing commences.

Right now, all new cars are aerodynamically flawless, more powerful than anything that’s ever been built, and lighter than a feather.

But all too soon, a modest stopwatch will humble them.

The first team to launch their 2018 car was the Haas F1 team. The American team chose to forego a typical launch and opted, instead, to release a handful of images online.

As the technical regulations have remained largely stable and unchanged, the changes from 2017 to 2018 cars won’t be as obvious.

The most noticeable difference is the inclusion of the Halo head protection system.

Williams was the second team to introduce its car with a traditional online launch. Chief technical officer Paddy Lowe and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer have designed the FW41.

Lowe said the car “has many new features, most of which are not all that obvious, but externally the team has pursued a very different aerodynamic concept which has allowed us some significant progress in aerodynamic performance.

“All Formula One cars are an evolution of what has gone before to some extent, but the FW41 does involve a number of departures from the directions that have been pursued in the past.”

While only lap times will tell if Williams have built a quick race car, the 2018 challenger undoubtedly looks more aggressive than its predecessor.

Similar to Haas, the Williams also sports the Ferrari-style side pods, which you’re likely to see on more of the midfield cars this season.

Naturally, and so as to avoid giving away any design secrets, some areas of the car has been shrouded in black paint.

Beyond the car that has been designed by Williams this season, the other big unknown for the team is its driver line-up.

Nonetheless, de facto team principal Claire Williams has described the driver pairing for Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll as “exciting” while highlighting Sirotkin’s impressive work with the technical team.

Sauber and Renault were due to launch their respective cars yesterday, followed by Ferrari and Mercedes on Thursday, McLaren on Friday. Toro Rosso will launch theirs on the first day of testing, February 26.

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