Mercedes boss Toto Wolff reckons changes to aerodynamic rules for 2019 could mix up Formula 1's competitive order and allow a team to gain an early advantage.
The new front wing regulations, which make the devices 200mm wider and 25mm deeper and more simplistic designs, are intended to aid overtaking.
A revision to make brake ducts simpler will also be implemented as part of F1's push to improve racing ahead of a larger regulation overhaul in 2021.
Earlier this year, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe said the incoming change is making it harder for F1 teams to judge aerodynamic targets.
The approval of the 2019 rule changes came in July, but required further discussion between F1 and the teams to close loopholes that had arisen.
Wolff believes the aero changes can change the F1 competitive order. "The biggest impact will be the completely new aerodynamic regulations," he said.
"That will change everything upside down. Somebody might find a loophole or an innovation or understand how these cars work earlier than others.
"There's a big variable in those regulations next year, and we could even have teams being right up there that are not on the radar today."
Mercedes has won 72 races since 2014's regulation overhaul that put more emphasis on engine performance, with Ferrari and Red Bull - with Renault power - winning only 13 and 11 races respectively in the same period.
Red Bull will switch from Renault engines to Honda next year, with the team believing the Japanese manufacturer now offers a better package.
The new engine paired with Red Bull's renowned chassis development edge has raised hopes it could challenge Mercedes and Ferrari more consistently next season.
When asked if he expected Red Bull to be competitive from the start of 2019, Wolff said: "Yeah, it could well be.
"Because we've seen there's no more pattern anymore, there's not one team that dominates one kind of circuit.
"It has changed, and the Honda engine certainly looks very powerful now, and Red Bull is a good group of racers."
Autosport has produced a standalone special magazine to celebrate our 70th birthday. All current print subscribers will receive a copy for free. To order your copy of the 196-page Autosport 70th Anniversary issue, please go to: autosport.com/autosport70th