Mercedes excited by Manor's Ocon-Wehrlein pairing

Sutton Images

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he is excited to see how development drivers Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein compete as teammates at Manor.

Mercedes junior Ocon will make his debut this weekend in Belgium after replacing Rio Haryanto at Manor, where he joins the team's other Mercedes protégé, Wehrlein, who has been there since the start of the season. Though Mercedes has locked Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in until the end of 2018 both Ocon and Wehrlein would be natural contenders to replace either man after that time.

Wolff is looking forward to watching the pair develop for the remainder of 2016.

"We're pleased to see both of our junior drivers side-by-side at Manor, with Esteban joining Pascal on the grid from this weekend," Wolff said. "The coming races will be important for both of their development, so we will watch their progress with great interest. There is plenty to be excited about heading into these next nine races. I, for one, can't wait to get back out there."

Though Mercedes leads the drivers' and constructors' championships by considerable margins Wolff is refusing to let the senior team lose focus in the second half of the year.

"We return from the summer break with fresh energy for the next phase of the season -- and we will need all of that energy, as time and again we're reminded that nothing is clear cut. We were expecting Hungary to be tough, with Hockenheim playing more to our strengths. That wasn't the case.

"It's an unusual situation to be winning for so long, so you can't expect it to last -- especially against opposition with such passion and resource as those around us. We will continue to fight hard. For the drivers, it's the same story.

"There are more than 200 points to be won in their title battle and a lot of racing to be done yet. Lewis is on an impressive run, just like Nico had at the end of last season and into this one. The advantage constantly swings, so it will be exciting to see how their battle pans out."