• INSIGHT: Five Rule Changes to Look Out for in F1 2018

It's very much a case of evolution, rather than revolution, when it comes to the 2018 Formula 1 rules but there are still some important changes to keep an eye on...

1. Halo There

Undoubtedly the biggest visual alteration to the cars for the new season is the addition of the 'Halo', the FIA's cockpit protection device - introduced to improve the safety of the drivers in the event of an accident, or when there is flying debris.

The cockpit is a vulnerable place for drivers, as it's the only area where they are exposed. Following several years of development, which included trials during practice sessions, the FIA opted to bring in the Halo for 2018.

The Halo has had its detractors, but it has a clear target and purpose - to drastically improve driver safety. The device itself is mandatory but there is some scope for teams to develop them and gain a performance advantage.

2. More Compounds

F1's fatter, wider tyres have gained two new compounds, taking the number of slick tyres up to seven compounds in total. The pink Hyper-Soft and orange Super-Hard join the range (the standard Hard tyre has been shuffled to an ice blue hue).

All of the compounds have gone one step softer, which is a more aggressive approach from Pirelli compared to 2017. These softer tyres should produce more pit stops (so, fewer one-stop races), more strategic opportunity and better racing as a result. Which is what we all want!

3. One Less Engine

To reduce costs and improve the reliability of F1 power units, each driver will now have three engines to use across the 2018 season, which is one fewer engine compared to last year.

This is despite the number of rounds on the calendar increasing from 20 to 21 races, and means teams have lost one opportunity to bring in engine upgrades, as well as creating some added risk of incurring grid penalties.

4. Grid Penalty Tweaks

Speaking of grid penalties, the rules have been changed for 2018 to make them simpler and easier to understand. Now, instead of drivers accruing multiple grid drops, if any driver earns more than 15 grid place penalties, they will have to start from the very back of the grid. If more than one driver gets sent to the back, they will be organised in the order the power unit changes are made.

5. Bye, Bye T-Wings

Teams are always finding loopholes in the F1 rules and 2017's revival of the shark fin and introduction of T-Wings were just two examples of this. Both aero devices have been banned for 2018, which will give the cars a different look - especially on the side profile.

The shark fin engine covers hadn't been seen for a few years, but were adopted by quite a few teams - including the Silver Arrows - over the course of 2017. This also caused the introduction of T-Wings, which were additional winglets placed on top of the shark fin or just behind it, to direct airflow better and increase downforce.

These have now been outlawed for 2018, which will give the cars a simpler and cleaner look.