The manager of motor racing great Michael Schumacher has said she hopes that “he will one day be back with us.” Schumacher, a winner of a record seven Formula 1 world titles, suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps in Dec. 2013.
He subsequently spent six months in an induced coma before later being allowed to return to his home on the shore of Lake Geneva in Sept. 2014. Since then, updates on his condition have been limited, with manager Sabine Kehm keeping a close guard on the 47-year-old’s privacy.
But speaking at the opening of an exhibition of Schumacher’s career in Marburg, Germany, Kehm said: “He is the most successful driver in history and sometimes, on days like this, it is good to be reminded of it.
“Of course, Michael is not here and of course we miss him. We know what has happened and cannot change it. We must accept it and hope with everything we have that, with continued support and patience, he will one day be back with us.”
The comments will provide hope that Schumacher can make a recovery, particularly after fellow former racing driver Philippe Streiff claimed in late 2014 that the German was confined to a wheelchair and had memory and speech problems. In December last year, Kehm denied reports from a German magazine that Schumacher was able to walk again.
Only two weeks ago, Schumacher’s former boss at Ferrari, where he raced for 11 seasons, presented a bleak outlook.
“I have news and unfortunately it is not good,” Luca di Montezemolo said, without elaborating. “Life is strange. He was a fantastic driver and only had one accident with Ferrari in 1999.” At the time, Kehm declined to respond to the comments.
It was at Ferrari that Schumacher became a true motor racing legend, winning a record five consecutive titles between 2000 and 2004 to add to the two he won at previous team Benetton. By the time he left Ferrari in 2006 he had amassed Formula 1 records for most race wins, pole positions and podium finishes.
Schumacher came out of retirement in 2010 to drive for Mercedes and the man who masterminded his success at Benetton and Ferrari, Ross Brawn. However, his return wasn’t nearly as successful and he would retire for good at the end of the 2012 season having achieved just one podium finish in three years.
He also became the wealthiest Formula 1 driver during his time in the sport, although it was reported last October that the cost of his medical expenses since his accident had exceeded $15 million. Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, is believed to have already sold off a holiday home in Norway as well as their private jet.