Mercedes has downplayed the impact that a lack of time in the team's simulator had on Michael Schumacher's return to F1 last season.

The German came out of retirement to join Mercedes last year alongside Nico Rosberg but struggled for results against his countryman and had to settle for ninth in the championship standings.

It has now emerged that Schumacher was only able to spend a limited amount of time using Mercedes' simulator after suffering sickness, but the team insists the issue hasn't affected the seven-time title winner.

"Throughout his career, Michael from time to time has been susceptible to simulator sickness," a statement from Mercedes read. "It hasn't adversely affected Michael's race preparation or competitiveness with regard to his team-mate.

"Simulator sickness has affected the length of time that he can spend on a simulator. This is a relatively common occurrence for many people in all fields of simulator activity including military, aircraft and racing cars.

"The simulator is one of a number of tools which drivers use to prepare for the race weekend [but] Michael has not been disadvantaged as together with his engineers he has made his simulation work effective."

Mercedes are working on a new simulator, which team boss Ross Brawn had previously revealed won't be ready until the 2012 season, and the new machine should aid Schumacher more than the one it replaces.

"The situation has been exacerbated by the level of our current simulator technology," Mercedes added. "For many reasons, we have invested in higher quality and more realistic simulation equipment which will be completed and available for our drivers shortly."



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