Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher is in a “critical condition” after suffering an accident while skiing in the French Alps.
The German was skiing off piste at the Meribel resort with his 14-year-old son, Mick, when he fell and hit hit head on a rock.
Initial reports from the ski resort claim Schumacher, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, was conscious but shocked after the initial fall before he was airlifted to a nearby hospital.
His condition reportedly worsened and he was transferred to a larger facility in the southern city of Grenoble, where it is claimed he was “comatose” and underwent immediate surgery.
“Mr Schumacher was admitted to the University Hospital of Grenoble at 12:40 [11:40 GMT], following a skiing accident which occurred in Meribel in the late morning,” a statement from the hospital reads.
“He suffered a severe head injury with coma on arrival, which required immediate neurosurgical intervention. He remains in a critical situation.”
He remains in the intensive care unit. His wife, Corinna, and his two children are by his bedside, while FIA President and former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt is reportedly on site as well.
The hospital declined to provide further information about the nature of the surgery or Schumacher’s condition, but indicated later statements would be provided in due course.
Social media lit up with a vast number of expressions of support from many of motorsport’s biggest names, as well as plenty of unhelpful and wildly inaccurate reporting from a number of tabloids.
— Dario Franchitti (@dariofranchitti) December 29, 2013
Thoughts and prayers with Michael Schumacher and family!!! You will win this race!!!
— Christian Fittipaldi (@fittitweet) December 29, 2013
Terrible news…i wish all the best to Michael. #Schumacher
— Giancarlo Fisichella (@OfficialFisico) December 29, 2013
All our thoughts are with Michael Schumacher and his family at this moment. Come on Champion!
— Sahara Force India (@clubforce) December 29, 2013
This is not the first time that Schumacher has suffered a major injury. The then two-time World Champion suffered a broken right leg at the British Grand Prix in 1999, which ruled him out of the championship hunt that season.
He bounced back in 2000, with the first of five successive championship crowns en route to becoming the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time, before he suddenly retired at the end of the 2006 season.
After three years on the sidelines, Schumacher headlined Mercedes’ works return to the sport on a three-year deal, but it was not a success, yielding a single podium finish, He retired for good at the end of the 2012 season.
We will have more on his condition as it becomes known, and the entire RichardsF1.com team extends its best wishes to Schumacher and his family during this time.