As the first anniversary of his skiing accident approaches, Michael Schumacher and his family have been dealt a further financial setback after the Formula One legend was dropped by some of his wealthy sponsors. It was on Dec. 29 last year that Schumacher struck his head on a rock while skiing in the French Alps and placed into a medically induced coma. After spending nearly six months in a Grenoble hospital, he was transferred to a facility in Lausanne before being released to his Swiss home in September. Since then there has been no official update about his condition.
The last information on Schumacher came courtesy of claims from friend and former racing driver Philippe Streiff. “He is getting better but everything is relative,” Streiff, who was paralyzed in an accident on the track in 1989, said. “It's very difficult. He can't speak. Like me, he is in a wheelchair paralyzed. He has memory problems and speech problems.” However, a spokesman for Schumacher responded by stating that the comments were simply Streiff’s “opinion.”
It was reported earlier this year that Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, had a $19 million medical suite built at their home on the shore of Lake Geneva, and there is speculation that the family have now suffered another financial blow. Phillipe Gaydouls, owner of Swiss fashion brands Navyboot and Jet Set, has severed commercial ties with Schumacher, reports Swiss news website Bluewin. The two companies are said to have been paying Schumacher 5 million Swiss Francs ($5.1 million) a year.
According to Forbes, Schumacher earned $10 million in endorsements in the final year before his retirement in 2012. While some of his sponsors have ended their relationships with Schumacher since his accident, Mercedes and financial advisors Deutsche Vermögensberatung AG reaffirmed their commitment to the 45-year-old earlier this year.
Schumacher returned for a largely unsuccessful three-year stint with Mercedes in 2010, having initially retired in 2006. During his career, the German won a record seven Formula One drivers’ championships, and also set records for the number of race wins and pole positions.