Banbury, Oxfordshire - Haas set Formula One's launch season rolling on Wednesday as the first of the 10 teams to offer a glimpse of its new car, complete with the new 'halo' head protection device.

The Ferrari-powered US-owned team, which finished eighth overall imn 2017 for the second consecutive year, released digital images of the VF-18 car on its website and social media.

Team principal Guenther Steiner said: "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 also had to work hard to modify the chassis so the halo could survive the mandated loads."

The halo, fixed at three points with its central upright in front of the driver and an overhead loop, is designed to protect the otherwise exposed helmet from bouncing wheels and flying debris. Mercedes technical head James Allison said last week the device could withstand the weight of a London double-decker bus.

With few other rule changes for 2018, Steiner said the car was "less about reinvention and more about refinement".

"You see elements we had from last year on the car this year," he added. "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."

Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Denmark's Kevin Magnussen will return as Haas' line-up for 2018.

Williams is due to unveil its new car on Thursday with the remaining teams holding launches, virtual and real, during the course of next week. Champion Mercedes, with Britain's Lewis Hamilton going for his fifth title this season, will present its car at Silverstone on 22 February.

Testing will start in Barcelona on 26 February, with the season-opening race in Australia on 25 March.