Adrian Newey says the gap between the front of the grid and the back will grow as a result of new technical regulations introduced in 2017.
Mercedes has been the dominant force since the introduction of the V6 power units in 2014, but the aerodynamic regulations have not received a major overhaul since 2009. As a result, the current grid includes a closely-matched midfield, with drivers from five different teams covered by 0.3s in the fight to reach Q3 at Silverstone.
With a change in aerodynamic regulations being introduced in 2017 as part of a push to increase lap times by up to five seconds, Red Bull's chief technical officer believes next year will see bigger gaps between teams again.
Asked if the new regulations will hurt overtaking, Newey replied: "The honest truth is I don’t know.
"It’s not something we spend any time worrying about, we just worry about making the car as quick as possible once you’ve got a set of regulations.
"I think it’s inevitable that the lap time spread across the grid will be bigger than it has been this year because some people will come up with better aerodynamic solutions to this set of regulations than others, but whether that simply means one team dominates or whether some teams will be good at certain circuits and not so good at others, it is too early to tell."
When asked if the improvement in lap time of four to five seconds is achievable, Newey said teams will not yet be focused on the potential gains compared to this year.
"Again, I’ll be completely honest, we’ve had our head down so much trying to get on and find solutions that I haven’t really kept a detailed check of where we are compared to that 4-5 second expectation."