Driver simulators make Schumacher sick

UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. 'Simulator sickness' does not explain Michael Schumacher's disappointing return to F1 alongside Nico Rosberg in 2010. That was the gist of a statement issued by Mercedes following reports this week that the seven time world champion did not work in the team's Brackley simulator last year due to motion sickness.

A source had told Dutch website that while Rosberg's setup work was "largely done" by the time he got to a grand prix, "Michael begins with a basic setting" because of his inability to work effectively in the simulator.

But Mercedes clarified in a statement that the reports were wrong to say Schumacher, 42, has only been suffering from motion sickness since returning to F1 after an initial career spanning 91 wins.

"Throughout his career, Michael from time to time has been susceptible to simulator sickness which has affected the length of time that he can spend on a simulator," said the German team.

"Michael has not been disadvantaged as together with his engineers he has made his simulation work effective," added Mercedes.

However, the statement did say Schumacher's problem with simulators was "exacerbated" in 2010 because Mercedes' technology is not yet up to scratch with some of its rivals.

01/25/11 (GMM) Michael Schumacher's inability to work in a driver simulator hindered his preparation for grands prix in 2010.

That is the claim of a source close to the Mercedes driver, who told the Dutch website that Schumacher does not spend time in simulators because ever since a motorcycle fall in 2009 they have caused him to suffer from motion sickness.

On the other hand, the 42-year-old's teammate Nico Rosberg – who scored 70 more points than his famous cohort last season – is reportedly renowned for the time he has spent in simulators during his career.

"Nico spends a lot of time in the simulator preparing the car for the grand prix weekends," said the Mercedes source.

The source added that while Rosberg's setup work is "largely done" by the time of the first session on Friday morning, "Michael begins with a basic setting".

"This is one of quite a few very good reasons why Schumacher was sometimes at a disadvantage to Rosberg," added the source.

However, late last year Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn said he thinks Schumacher would have been more competitive in 2010 if Mercedes had a truly "top" driver simulator.

He said a new simulator is "currently under construction" at Brackley, but "it won't be fully operational before 2012".

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