FIA race director Charlie Whiting says the biggest factor impacting overtaking in F1 isn't the cars but the competitiveness of the mid-field teams.
The 2017 season saw half the number of overtaking moves following the introduction of faster and wider cars.
At the outset in Melbourne last year, drivers unanimously declared that the new-spec machines would challenge the art of overtaking, which they effectively did.
"The wider cars look great and they've given us more grip, but when they take up more space on the track you have less clean air so it does make following harder," recently said pass master Daniel Ricciardo.
But Whiting disagrees with the Aussie's assessment, and underlines instead the persistent performance gap which exists between F1's mid-field teams and the front-runners.
"I don't think closer racing is the issue, and I don't think the cars are the problem," he told the New York Times.
"The biggest problem we've had this year is that it's clear the big three teams – if you want to call them that – in Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are significantly quicker than the rest.
"I don't think the racing has been bad, it's just that some have done a significantly better job than others, which is nothing new in formula one," Whiting added.