Luca di Montezemolo, Michael Schumacher’s former boss at Scuderia Ferrari, visited the 7-time World Champion at his residence in Switzerland earlier this week. Following that visit, he revealed that he “had news, and unfortunately it is not good.”
Di Montezemolo, former Chairman of Ferrari, was the Scuderia’s manager when Niki Lauda won the World Championship for the team in 1975 and 1977.
Schumacher suffered a skiing accident in late 2013 at Meribel, in the French Alps, when he went off piste and hit a boulder. Although he sustained severe head injuries, he had been wearing a helmet at the time.
Following the accident, Schumacher was immediately airlifted to hospital and placed in a medically induced coma to reduce the swelling around his brain, for which he also underwent emergency surgery.
He was comatose for a number of months afterwards, and in early 2014 was moved back to the Schumacher family home in Switzerland, where he continues to receive round-the-clock medical care from a dedicated team.
There have been several attempts by media to gain access to Schumacher and information on his condition, but his longtime manager Sabine Kehm has remained tight-lipped, only taking to the media to address the circulation of any media reports regarding the driver’s health.
Late last year, former Ferrari team principal and current FIA president Jean Todt, who worked closely with Schumacher for most of his career, visited the driver – something he does “very often,” saying that “...Michael is still fighting.”
Schumacher, the most successful driver in the history and perhaps the future of the sport, won his first two championships with one of his earliest teams – Benetton, having shown prodigious skill from the year of his Formula One debut.
But it was with Scuderia Ferrari that Schumacher would have his most successful run in Formula One. The German won a staggering five world championships with the team on the trot, completely dominating the sport. He became known for his speed, aggression and his masterful ability to handle rainy conditions, and in this time gained two of his most popular nicknames – the Red Baron, for his long, fruitful association with the Scuderia, and the Regenmeister for his performances at wet races.
Several conflicting reports have made the rounds of the media in the years since Schumacher’s accident. Most recently, German tabloid Bunte alleged it had access to those ‘closest to the driver’, quoting a ‘confidante of Schumacher’ as saying the driver was “very thin, but he can once again walk a little with the help of his therapist. He manages to walk a few steps. He can even raise his arm."
Kehm broke the long-standing media silence around Schumacher to deny the rumours, saying they were “hurtful to those closest to Michael.” She also said, however, that his condition was “improving given the gravity of his injuries.”
Di Montezemolo’s statements, although nebulous, seem to suggest the prognosis is not good. The notoriously private Schumacher family have chosen to maintain the media silence, with Kehm refusing to respond to di Montezemolo’s remarks.