Michael Schumacher remains in a ‘critical but stable’ condition, the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire at Grenoble has confirmed in a statement issued overnight.
The German, who won a record seven World Championship titles and 91 race wins, suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps over a week ago.
His injuries included major brain swelling and bleeding on the brain, which have seen him undergo two rounds of neurosurgery. He remains in a medically-induced coma, with his family maintaining a bedside vigil.
“The clinical state of Michael Schumacher is considered as stable and is constantly monitored by the medical treatments that are administered to him,” the latest statement from the hospital reads.
“However, the medical team responsible underlines that they will not stop to consider Michael’s condition as critical.”
The hospital again reiterated that only its authorised representatives were in a position to comment on his treatment and condition, amid wide – and very wild – reporting by some sections of the media which have given conflicting updates about his recovery.
Accident investigators to hold press conference
Meanwhile, French authorities investigating Schumacher’s skiing accident have confirmed they will hold a press conference tomorrow.
According to the AFP, it will take place at 11:00AM local time (GMT +1) at the prosecutors’ office in the French town of Albertville, host city of the Winter Olympic Games in 1992.
Investigators had indicated they would interview Schumacher’s manager, Sabine Kehm, to corroborate her recounting of eyewitness accounts of Schumacher’s accident, with a view to gaining a clearer picture of his he came to suffer his injuries.
There are also reports that a video camera attached to Schumacher’s helmet has been recovered, along with other eyewitness video footage of the retired driver’s crash, which apparently saw him fall onto rocks in an off piste area of the Meribel ski resort.
Schumacher’s greatest rival lends his support
Amid a huge outpouring of support from Schumacher’s fans and fellow motorsport peers, the man he described as his greatest on-track rival, two-time World Champion Mika Häkkinen, has sent his own words of encouragement to the man he beat to the 1998 and 1999 Drivers’ Championship titles.
“You are a man that is use to challenges and you are use to beating them,” Häkkinen wrote in an email published in Germany’s Bild newspaper.
Häkkinen himself survived a critical head injury following a practice accident during the 1995 Australian Grand Prix, and reflected on his own recovery in delivering encouragement to Schumacher and his family.
“It [an accident like this] is the worst thing that can happen to you in life. You realise how fragile life is and in those moments you realise everyday worries are unimportant. The only thing that is important is being able to hold the hand of the other person and to trust the words of the doctors. You sit there and hope that everything turns out well, but you do not know what will happen the next morning. You cannot do anything – and that is the horror [of it],” he added.
“At the beginning [after my accident] the shock for my family was huge. The newspapers were full of pictures, as I was pulled from the wreckage of my car bleeding. The bad thing for every racing driver, in addition to these images, is that the family don’t have any information. They do not know what is going on or how bad the injuries are.
“When I woke up I could see the pain they had to go through. You look at things differently after. You bear in mind what you have – family, health – and you know can lose it all in a second.
“Michael is a fighter [though] and will never give up until he has won this battle.
“Just do me one favour, do not try to beat the clock this time,” he wrote, addressing Schumacher directly.
“You do not have to post your best time in the race. Just take all the time you need.”
Few could have written such sentiments any better.