Pascal Wehrlein believes Mercedes will need to find a new breeding ground for its young talent following its surprise departure from the German DTM series.
The manufacturer announced last month that it would be shifting its DTM resources to Formula E, but its retreat from Germany's premier racing series will force Mercedes to promote its junior drivers elsewhere.
Paul di Resta, Esteban Ocon and Wehrlein himself grew up and refined their racing skills in DTM before moving on to F1.
Wehrlein's championship winning season in 2015 opened the door to Grand Prix racing last year and to a seat at Manor.
"DTM is not the normal way. You start in Formula 4, Formula 3, Formula 2, GP3, that’s the normal way," says Wehrlein.
"I can just tell you about my case, it was not possible for me to drive in GP2; I did not have the budget of one and a half millions so I had to decide what can I do after Formula 3.
"For me it was clear that there was an offer from Mercedes that I could drive DTM, I’m getting paid and don’t have to spend crazy amount of money for another year of Formula 3 or something like this," he continued.
"As I said, GP2 was not possible, so for me the only option was DTM and I was really happy about that chance.
"I always knew if I did a good job, winning and so on, there could still be a chance to arrive in F1, luckily I won DTM and now I’m in F1, but I think this is only possible with Mercedes.
"So now maybe without DTM they will put their drivers in Formula 3, GP3 and F2 and maybe they now don’t try anymore to go the second way."