FIA President Jean Todt, who was Team Principal at Ferrari for the duration of Michael Schumacher’s stint at the iconic team, has said he is “still fighting” following the severe injuries he sustained in a skiing accident in 2013. The French motorsport icon has been a close friend of the Schumacher family for over a decade.
The German, considered Formula One’s greatest driver of all time, was skiing with his son Mick at Meribel, a popular ski resort in the French Alps, when he went off-piste and hit a boulder.
Despite wearing a helmet, Schumacher suffered serious trauma to the head, and was immediately airlifted to hospital and placed in a medically induced coma; the 7-time world champion would have died without a helmet, according to his doctors.
It would be 6 months before he was brought out of the medically-induced coma, and regained consciousness later that year. After several months in the hospital, the racer returned home to rehabilitate, where he has been since. His communication is limited, say sources, as he is said to respond to his family via blinking and other forms of non-verbal communication. His motor skills are also believed to be currently minimal.
This weekend will see the first Mexican Grand Prix in 23 years, and Todt told reporters in Mexico: "Michael is a close friend, his family is very close to me, I am very close to them as well. I see Michael very often, and Michael is still fighting. We must keep him fighting for the family."
Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm has been instrumental in ensuring no details find their way to the public; she has previously said the F1 icon is ‘making progress’, especially ‘considering the severity of his injuries’.
Although several allegations have found their way to the media, his manager and close family friends, Todt among them, aver that he is in some form of recovery.
Schumacher’s wife and family are notoriously guarded about their privacy and remain largely out of the public eye, although son Mick has followed in his father’s footsteps, winning his first Formula 4 race at Oschersleben in Germany earlier this year and taking the Best Rookie award.
The younger Schumacher is being mentored by his own father’s former mentee, 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, as he makes his way through motorsport.
Todt’s statement is the first concrete information on Schumacher’s condition in a significant period of time, while several drivers continue to carry messages of support for the champion on their cars. He continues to remain at the Schumacher family home near Lake Geneva, with a team of dedicated medical professionals monitoring his condition and aiding his rehabilitation.