Mercedes chief Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will be encouraged to race each other more in 2016.

Wolff outlines new directives for Merc duo

Wolff outlines new directives for Merc duo

The reigning constructors' champions say they have reduced the amount of in-house 'rules' given to the two top drivers in F1 last year for the new campaign, in a bid to best ensure they can drive freely but also maintain the team's chances of glory on the track.

The duo have had several clashes in recent years and there is no love lost between the pair, as they both hope to compete for the World Drivers' Championship once again ahead of the first race of the season in Australia on March 20.

Wolff says the team have reduced the amount of directives issued to each driver and he expects the pair to go up against each other regularly this year.

"We have reduced that from last year to this year," Wolff told reporters at a Mercedes event in Stuttgart. "When we started the project in 2013, there was lot of pressure on the team in order to achieve results and win races. We have done OK. In 2014, we won the championship and we confirmed it wasn't a one-off in 2015.

"With Lewis and Nico, they have been together for a couple of years. It functions pretty well. We owe it to them and we owe it to Formula One to let them race. The ride will be a bit more difficult. But I think that is absolutely necessary.

"I have no doubt that, they are so implemented in the team, that they understand the momentum and dynamics in the team."

He added: "You cannot expect them to schmooze around. One will try to beat the other. They have great respect for the organisation behind the team, the team sticks together, Lewis and Nico are very much part of it.

"I have no doubt we will have some interesting moments on track, that is part of the rivalry and it is part of Formula 1 but all within the spirit of the team."

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