Ferrari shows off its new 2018 F1 auto

The new Ferrari F1 car model SF71H is seen in this handout

Say Hi to Ferrariā€™s New SF71H Car for 2018 Formula 1 Season REUTERS

Other obvious design changes to the vehicle include the lack of Santander branding and of course, the highly-controversial halo cockpit protection device.

He had been leading the championship through to the Italian Grand Prix but a spate of poor races meant Lewis Hamilton took control and the title.

A year ago was tough enough, albeit if only for half a season.

The new Ferrari F1 car model SF71H is seen in this handout
REUTERSThe new Ferrari F1 car model SF71H is seen in this handout

Finnish team mate Kimi Raikkonen, who is now 38 and out of contract at the end of the season, said it looked good despite the addition of the now mandatory halo head-protection device.

Watch Mercedes launch their new auto for 2018, the W09. EQ Power+ refers to Merc's ongoing hybrid model strategy, and we're told that over 7,000 "drawn parts" have been built, and more than 40,000 components have been through "non-destructive testing inspection".

And, having previously expressed hope that his former team McLaren and former team-mate Fernando Alonso can return to front-running contention, Hamilton added: "Who knows, maybe there will be another team".

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For the fourth consecutive year 38-year-old Raikkonen and four-time world champion Vettel, 30, will spearhead the Scuderia's campaign. "Hopefully, if I'm performing at my best there will be issues because they'll be upset about it!"

The halo-fitted new auto was shown off at Ferrari's Maranello base on Thursday, four days before the start of F1's pre-season testing at Barcelona. We try to retain the strengths, and some of the strengths I would say are the aggressiveness of the concept we designed, a auto that was performing very well on low-speed circuits.

Asked about mind games, Hamilton said: "Honestly, I don't play mind games. As to how deep I will go, we will see".

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The new challenger has a longer wheelbase to move it more into line with rival Mercedes' design.

Likened to a pair of briefs or a thick framed pair of glasses, the upcoming season could see many point to Halo before anything else, should an on track collision occur. I take my time, and eventually I miss going for a run and miss working out and look forward to getting back to it. We need to come up with a solution that simply looks better.

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