MONACO (Reuters) - The Monaco Grand Prix, glamour highlight of the Formula One season, makes Jenson Button sick - but only on McLaren’s simulator.
The 2009 world champion - and Monaco resident - told reporters at the harbourside circuit on Wednesday that it had been years since he prepared with virtual laps around the slowest but twistiest race on the calendar.
“I haven’t driven it in the simulator and I didn’t drive last year’s car in the simulator or the year before that,” said the Briton when asked how the V6 turbo 2014 car had handled on the simulator compared to the old V8 engined one.
”Basically, I can’t drive around Monaco in the simulator because I get sick. This is one I miss.
“I don’t know why but I get sick in it so I can’t drive it. It used to be Hungary as well but we’ve changed it...so I can drive it now.”
McLaren test driver Oliver Turvey has been spending time in the simulator seat instead back at the Woking factory and providing feedback.
“He’s done a lot of work and said that it’s more difficult to drive with the torque but I think we’re going to be able to manage OK,” said Button.
McLaren, who took their first Monaco win 30 years ago with Frenchman Alain Prost and are the second most successful team in the sport after Ferrari, have not scored a point in their last three races.
That represents Button’s worst run since he was with Honda in 2008 but the most experienced driver on the starting grid said the results did not tell the full story.
“Obviously we’re not in a fantastic place right now in terms of speed and finishing positions,” he said.
”I was asked what I would be happy with here and obviously it’s a win but we’re not going to get that. I don’t think the position is really what’s going to make us happy here because it’s not going to be a fantastic position.
“I think what we’ll get out of this weekend is how the car feels. If we feel that we have made improvements and have a better direction...we know there’s so much coming that I think we can be positive for the future.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer