Haas F1 Team is the first Formula One racing team to unveil its race car for the 2018 season, and it did so across its social media platforms. Dubbed the VF-18, the machine features the new halo cockpit protection system, a smaller shark fin and a grey-heavy, white and red livery.

The VF-18 is basically an evolution of the team’s second car, the VF-17, which carried the Haas F1 Team to an eighth-place finish in the 2017 constructors standings with 47 points. That’s 18 points more than what the team achieved in its debuting year 2016.

According to the organisation, the “V” stands for vertical, which is an industry standard designation for a vertical mill. Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, added “F1” to the name to unofficially designate it as the company’s “Very First One.”

“People see what we can do in Formula One and people believe Haas Automation can build world-class machine tools,” said Haas, whose entry in 2016 became the first American racing team to join the Formula One series since 1986. “Being a Formula One participant brings a level of credibility that you just won’t get through traditional advertising.”

With the VF-18, Haas said: “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 biggest part of the car’s evolution was the addition of the halo. 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,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal of Haas F1 Team.

“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,” added Steiner.

“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,” he explained.

Haas F1 Team will be testing the VF-18 at the Circuit de Barcelona–Catalunya on February 26 to March 1, and once more from March 6 to 9 before the opening race in Melbourne, Australia kicks off on March 25.