Since the last test runs in Barcelona at the end of February, none of the Formula One drivers have sat in their Boliden. The season air strike in Australia was cancelled, further cancellations and postponements followed. Until the planned restart on the 5th of June, the pilots therefore had to pause well four months.
Nico Rosberg, world champion of 2016, has an idea of how difficult it will be for his former colleagues to find their way back into racing mode and not only mentally. Because although everyone tries to stay physically fit at home, forces that work in a Formula One car could not be simulated in the gym.
This has consequences especially for the neck muscles. Cars are so fast these days. They’re gonna have a real problem with their neck if it starts up again. That’s for sure,”Rosberg predicts in the RTL interview. But this is all the more exciting for us when the drivers are at the physical limit.”
Rosberg warns against losing the fine motor
But the German sees another great challenge:”I think they are learning the perfection of driving. Suppose Roger Federer doesn’t go to the tennis court for five months to train. He’s definitely a long way from his best performance level. And so it is with racing drivers too.”
How much can be compensated by Sim-Racing is hard to say. Rosberg already believes that driving in the simulator can counteract the loss of fine motor technology.” I’m sure that’s another reason why Sebastian is now suddenly jumping over his shadow and also on the virtual road.”
Sebastian Vettel debuted at the beginning of the month in the legendary Trophy of the All-Star series. Landsman Rosberg suspects: “He has simply seen, hey, the competition is driving, for hours, every day. It’s dangerous, I have to start now.”It looks very different with Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton:”rarely drive in the simulator”
I don’t think he does that and is convinced that simulator driving might help him”, says his former Mercedes teammate and sees a possible disadvantage in it.” I am not sure if he understands how the body degrades in terms of precision and driving ability.”
Rosberg says from his own experience:”We used to have always had three months of winter break. And then the first time I was back in the car, it all felt a lot faster. It took me a few days to get it back to “full in”.
Driving in the simulator could help to keep this effect as low as possible. But Hamilton himself does not seem convinced.” I rarely drive in the simulator,”he admits on Mercedes’YouTube channel.”I don’t drive in the simulator very often.” I find this difficult because the movement is never perfect.”So the seat does not move in the simulator at home.
World Champion today lets go of racing games
“Your mind tells you that the car is moving. But you can’t feel anything. It’s like you have to take your mind off things. And I don’t like it. When you get back in the real car, it’s completely different,”explains Hamilton, holding on:”Personally, it doesn’t help me to sit in the simulator.”
He has no objection to online games with friends:”I like Gran Turismo. Sony sent me a complete set-up. When I was a kid, I spent hours making money and buying all those cars. This was a great opportunity.”Over the years, this gave rise to the idea of a challenge of their own.
Players can start against Hamilton’s time. The World Champion says: “I grew up playing Formula One games. I couldn’t wait to see my own car in it one day.”But then when he got into formula 1, he stopped playing races.