Having confirmed its DTM driver line-up for 2016 Mercedes has announced what formation its eight drivers will take with newcomer Esteban Ocon joining ART Grand Prix while four drivers swap race seats.
The German manufacturer has retained its three established partners HWA, ART Grand Prix and Mucke Motorsport who will run its four Mercedes-powered squads – HWA holding on to its two teams.
Ocon, who joins the Mercedes DTM crew in place of the Formula 1-bound Pascal Wehrlein, is partnered with ART Grand Prix alongside Gary Paffett instead of slotting straight into the race seat at HWA squad vacated by Wehrlein.
As a result, Paffett's former team-mate Lucas Auer switches over to the Mucke Motorsport team where he and Christian Vietoris form an all-new line-up with former drivers Maximilian Gotz and Daniel Juncadella being split into separate HWA teams.
Juncadella partners Robert Wickens, who is one of the few drivers to keep the same place from 2015, in the first HWA-run team and in the second squad Gotz lines up alongside Paul di Resta.
Ulrich Fritz, head of Mercedes-AMG DTM, says the shake-up will give each member of the Mercedes crew fresh motivation and feels each driver combination is a clever blend of youth and experience which will be mutually beneficial for all parties.
"We decided to rearrange the allocation of drivers for the upcoming season to provide new impetus,” Fritz said. “I'm convinced that a change of environment gives people extra motivation. In particular, the exchange of ideas and of new approaches to dealing with challenges is to everyone's benefit.
“We made sure that, in arranging the team, we combined DTM experience with youthful thirst for action. The best example of that is certainly the pairing of Gary with Esteban, but the same goes for the combinations of Paul and Max and of Christian and Lucas."
All drivers will race the updated Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM machines in 2016 which will be prepared and entered by the respective teams.
Mercedes teams and drivers:
Mercedes-AMG DTM Team ART: Gary Paffett Esteban Ocon
Mercedes-AMG DTM Team HWA I: Daniel Juncadella Robert Wickens
Mercedes-AMG DTM Team HWA II: Paul Di Resta Maximilian Götz
Mercedes-AMG DTM Team Mücke: Lucas Auer Christian Vietoris