Inside Michael Schumacher’s decade-long health mystery: On tenth anniversary of ski crash horror, his family’s fight for privacy, his recovery and how his wife’s unfaltering love has kept the family going

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Michael Schumacher’s career boasted seven F1 World Championships alongside a dazzling array of records
  • But he has not been seen in public since suffering a severe brain injury in a horrific skiing accident in 2013 
  • Ten years to the day since his crash, MailOnline reviews a decade of uncertainty and asks what comes next

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Few names in the realm of elite sport evoke the same reverence and awe as Michael Schumacher. 

A veritable motorsport legend and titan of the Formula One paddock, Schumacher’s career boasted seven F1 world championships alongside a dazzling array of records, and he is considered by many to be the greatest driver of all time.  

But on December 29, 2013, his life was swiftly and irrevocably altered by a tragic accident, which at the time seemed scarcely believable – and cruelly ironic.

Schumacher had expertly piloted the world’s most savagely fast and dangerous machines for more than 15 years, achieving unparalleled glory before retiring in good health in 2012 aged 43. 

But one year later while on a family holiday in the French Alps, the speed demon was caught out in a freak fall mere metres away from a popular ski slope that resulted in critical head injuries. 

The sporting icon has remained hidden away from the public eye ever since, with Schumacher’s health journey over the past decade shrouded by an almost impenetrable veil of secrecy.

Now, 10 years on from that fateful day – and just five days shy of his 55th birthday – MailOnline recaps what we know about the extent of Schumi’s injuries, examines the scraps of detail that slipped through the tightly controlled information bubble, and speculates on what the future may hold for the racing icon. 

A veritable motorsport legend and titan of the Formula One paddock, Michael Schumacher’s career boasted seven F1 World Championships alongside a dazzling array of records, and he is considered by many to be the greatest driver of all time

But Schumacher has not been seen publicly since a skiing accident in 2013 (Schumacher pictured with his wife Corinna in 2005)

But Schumacher has not been seen publicly since a skiing accident in 2013 (Schumacher pictured with his wife Corinna in 2005)

Formula One Team Ferrari driver Schumacher of Germany holds up his trophy after winning the The Grand Prix of Montreal at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 15, 1997

Formula One Team Ferrari driver Schumacher of Germany holds up his trophy after winning the The Grand Prix of Montreal at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 15, 1997

Schumacher is pictured alongside wife Corinna, son Mick and daughter Gina in this still taken from the 2021 Netflix documentary Schumacher

Schumacher is pictured alongside wife Corinna, son Mick and daughter Gina in this still taken from the 2021 Netflix documentary Schumacher

A file picture dated 11 January 2000 shows German the Formula One Ferrari driver Schumacher carving a turn while skiing at the Italian resort of Madonna di Campiglio, Italy

A file picture dated 11 January 2000 shows German the Formula One Ferrari driver Schumacher carving a turn while skiing at the Italian resort of Madonna di Campiglio, Italy

The accident and the aftermath

It was a beautiful bluebird morning on the picturesque slopes of Méribel, a renowned ski resort in the French Alps, on the day Schumacher suffered his near-fatal crash. 

The seven-time world champion was enjoying a family holiday just over a year on from the final race of the 2012 Formula One season in which he had announced his second, and final, retirement. 

He had taken to the slopes with his then 14-year-old son Mick, and the pair had embarked on a seemingly routine skiing excursion when disaster struck.

While descending the highly popular Combe de Saulire route, Schumacher opted to venture off-piste, entering into a small sliver of uncombed powder between Piste Chamois and Piste Biche that was peppered with small rocks. 

The master driver was also a highly adept and committed skier – his skill was such that he had a run named after him at the Italian resort of Madonna di Campiglio, where Ferrari hosted its annual winter retreat. 

But despite the relatively gentle gradient and the short distance of the off-piste section, a hidden danger was lying in wait. The snowfall had concealed some of the boulders from view, turning the powder paradise into a minefield.

Schumacher’s skis clipped one such boulder and the sudden force catapulted him into the air – leaving him powerless to avoid a head-first collision with another rock. 

The impact was devastating. Schumacher’s helmet absorbed much of the force, but the severity of the accident cracked the hard shell and fractured Schumacher’s skull, leading to a traumatic brain injury. 

Ski patrollers and a helicopter rescue team arrived at the scene within minutes, with eyewitnesses claiming Schumacher was conscious after the accident, but was unable to answer questions and was moving erratically.

While descending the highly popular Combe de Saulire route, Schumacher opted to venture off-piste, entering into a small sliver of uncombed powder between Piste Chamois and Piste Biche that was peppered with small rocks. Schumacher's skis clipped one such boulder and the sudden force catapulted him into the air - leaving him powerless to avoid a head-first collision with another rock

While descending the highly popular Combe de Saulire route, Schumacher opted to venture off-piste, entering into a small sliver of uncombed powder between Piste Chamois and Piste Biche that was peppered with small rocks. Schumacher’s skis clipped one such boulder and the sudden force catapulted him into the air – leaving him powerless to avoid a head-first collision with another rock

Immediately after the accident, Schumacher is believed to have been conscious and talking, but was unable to respond to questions and was moving erratically (Schumacher is pictured in 2004)

Immediately after the accident, Schumacher is believed to have been conscious and talking, but was unable to respond to questions and was moving erratically (Schumacher is pictured in 2004)

Fans projected a message onto the side of the hospital in Grenoble to commemorate Schumacher's 45th birthday: '45 - Schumi stay strong! Keep fighting!'

Fans projected a message onto the side of the hospital in Grenoble to commemorate Schumacher’s 45th birthday: ’45 – Schumi stay strong! Keep fighting!’ 

Recognising the severity of the situation, the rescue team quickly immobilised him and transported him to the nearby Moutiers Hospital, where he arrived at 11.53am.

From there, a helicopter airlifted him to the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble, a leading medical facility equipped with a specialised neurosurgery unit, for two lifesaving surgeries to reduce pressure on the brain.

A later investigation deemed Schumacher was travelling at a normal speed and was not skiing beyond his abilities at the moment of his accident. But it is thought his injuries – which would have almost certainly been fatal had the former driver not been wearing a helmet – were exacerbated by a February 2009 motorcycle accident in which he suffered fractures in his head and neck. 

Reporting just hours after the first surgery, the hospital’s chief anaesthesiologist Jean-Francois Payen said that the ex-driver was ‘fighting for his life’ in critical condition, and judged that it was ‘a very serious situation’. 

‘We can’t really say when he will recover – we cannot answer this yet,’ he concluded.

The hospital was under a strict security cordon, with only trusted visitors allowed to visit Schumacher. 

His wife Corinna, daughter Gina-Marie, and Mick were at his bedside, and they were later joined by close family friend, and former Ferrari team principal and CEO, Jean Todt.

Schumacher’s medical team was boosted by Professor Gerard Saillant, a brain and spine injury expert and close friend of Schumacher, who performed a second surgery on a hematoma on the left side of his brain. 

The driver survived both surgeries against the odds, but remained in critical condition for several weeks.

By April 2014, Schumacher was being withdrawn gradually from the medically induced coma, a process that was completed in June 2014. 

He then travelled to Lausanne University Hospital for continuous rehabilitation, before leaving the facility in September to the £50m Schumacher family home in Gland, Switzerland, on the banks of Lake Geneva. 

In 2018, rumours began that Schumacher had secretly been moved to a private mansion on the Spanish island of Majorca by his wife Corinna, which were compounded in 2020 when Elisabetta Gregoraci – the ex-wife of Schumacher’s former boss at Benetton Flavio Briatore – made similar claims. 

‘Michael doesn’t speak, he communicates with his eyes,’ Gregoraci said while appearing on Italy’s version of reality TV show Big Brother.

‘They moved to Spain and his wife has set up a hospital in that house. Only three people can visit him and I know who they are,’ she said.

But her claims were widely refuted by Schumacher’s family, manager and other sources, and it is widely accepted he remains in Switzerland.  

Schumacher lives and receives treatments in his £50million mansion in Gland, Switzerland

Schumacher lives and receives treatments in his £50million mansion in Gland, Switzerland

Schumacher poses with the Ferrari 248 F1 during the launch of the new Ferrari F1 car for the Season 2006 on January 24, 2006 in Mugello

Schumacher poses with the Ferrari 248 F1 during the launch of the new Ferrari F1 car for the Season 2006 on January 24, 2006 in Mugello 

A veil of secrecy, a nearly catastrophic leak… and an AI blunder

Despite a worldwide outpouring of grief and support in equal measure following Schumacher’s accident, his wife Corinna, whom he married in 1995, has insisted on total secrecy over his condition.

The rule has been faithfully observed by Schumacher’s loved ones, friends and wider entourage, who believe the racer and his immediate family deserve privacy to maintain his dignity.

None but a trusted few are granted access to his bedside amid strict security protocols, which have inevitably given rise to a number of rumours over Schumi’s condition.

But this is a price worth paying for Corinna and Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm, who said several clandestine attempts to see Michael were launched just days after his accident.

In such attempt, a journalist dressed as a priest had tried to gain access to Schumacher’s hospital room under the pretence of bestowing a blessing upon the stricken racer.

‘I wouldn’t have ever imagined something like this could happen,’ Kehm told Die Welt at the time. 

But six months later, Schumacher’s family would suffer another attempt to expose details of his predicament.

Stolen medical records and the £1milion photo from inside Schumacher’s house

Schumacher’s privacy has seen many people try and cash in on the information vacuum.

An executive at the helicopter air rescue company that transferred him from a French hospital to Switzerland six months after the crash allegedly tried to steal his medical records and sell them to several European media outlets for €50,000 (£40,000). 

French prosecutors tracked the IP address of the computer used in the theft to Rega, the main operator of air ambulances in Switzerland. At the time, the company acknowledged it had received a medical file to assist in Schumacher’s move, but strenuously denied being involved in the theft. 

Prosecutors from France and Switzerland managed to trace the alleged theft back to the air rescue executive, who was promptly arrested and placed in a prison cell in Zurich.

But the next morning, hours before he was scheduled to go before court, officers found the man’s lifeless body hanging in his cell. 

Authorities did not release the man’s name, age, or nationality. But Zurich’s prosecutor’s office said at the time that he had acted alone, and that there were no indications that he was mentally unstable or suicidal. 

‘We are at a loss for words and deeply shocked,’ Kehm said at the time, but added that any publication of the ‘clearly stolen’ medical file would result in prosecution, which meant the notes never saw the light of day. 

One year later, the family narrowly avoided another catastrophic leak. 

An unnamed ‘friend’ granted access to Schumacher’s home managed to snap a picture and smuggle it out. 

The image was allegedly being bandied about to European media groups with a price tag of one million euros. 

But German prosecutors swiftly intervened, declaring the photograph and its attempted sale constituted a ‘violation of his personal range of life’ and a breach of privacy. 

The image never surfaced, and to this day there have never been any photos of Schumacher taken after the accident. 

Schumacher¿s wife Corinna (pictured with him in 2012) has insisted on secrecy on his condition from family and friends

Schumacher’s wife Corinna (pictured with him in 2012) has insisted on secrecy on his condition from family and friends

Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm has become the family's spokesperson in the last decade

Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm has become the family’s spokesperson in the last decade

Schumacher and Corinna married in 1995 and the pair have two children together. Both are pictured in 2010, when Schumacher received the French Legion of Honour - the highest award that can be bestowed on a foreigner

Schumacher and Corinna married in 1995 and the pair have two children together. Both are pictured in 2010, when Schumacher received the French Legion of Honour – the highest award that can be bestowed on a foreigner

The ‘world exclusive first interview’ that was actually made up by an AI chatbot

Earlier this year, a German magazine slapped an image of the F1 driver’s face on its front page, claiming it had secured the first interview with Schumacher since his December 2013 skiing accident. 

Immediately, questions were asked about how Die Aktuelle managed to get the long-reclusive Schumacher to speak on the record given the extent of his injuries, not to mention his family’s ruthless commitment to protect his privacy.

The article, which did not feature a byline, quoted Schumacher as saying that his life had ‘totally changed’ since his accident. 

‘That was a horrible time for my wife, my children and the whole family,’ ‘Schumacher’ added. 

‘I was so badly injured that I lay for months in a kind of artificial coma because otherwise, my body couldn’t have dealt with it all.’ 

But the interview, published in April, ended with an admission that the quotes were made up, and that the magazine had not spoken to Schumacher, or any of his family members.

‘Did Michael Schumacher really say everything himself? The interview was online. On a page that has to do with artificial intelligence, or AI for short,’ the now widely derided piece concluded.

It was later revealed that the magazine used character.ai, a website notorious for allowing users to generate ‘conversations’ with celebrities, to fake the interview.  

The consequences were swift and dire for Die Aktuelle. The then-editor, Anne Hoffmann, was almost immediately fired, with the managing editor of Funke, the magazine’s publisher, stating at the time: ‘This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared.’

One German media expert labelled the stunt ‘too stupid to be true’.

The controversy around the fake interview was so strong that the Schumacher family planned to sue the publishers, though later seemingly backed off. 

A woman holds the edition of German weekly magazine Die Aktuelle with the cover announcing a fake interview with Michael Schumacher, in Berlin, Germany, 20 April 2023

A woman holds the edition of German weekly magazine Die Aktuelle with the cover announcing a fake interview with Michael Schumacher, in Berlin, Germany, 20 April 2023

Die Aktuelle eventually admitted that the quotes had been generated by AI

Die Aktuelle eventually admitted that the quotes had been generated by AI

The mystery over Schumi’s current state of health – and what those close to him have revealed so far

Very little is known about the current state of Schumacher’s health due to the aforementioned strict privacy controls put in place by Corinna and his inner circle. Several of his good friends and former colleagues asking to see the racer have been turned away.  

Schumacher’s former Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello had his request turned down on the advice that ‘it would not do him or me any good’. 

A year after the accident, Schumacher’s former manager Willi Weber claimed that he had tried ‘dozens of times’ to seek permission to see his old client, but had been denied, laying the blame at the feet of Corinna ‘preventing him’ from making contact with Schumacher. 

He later accused the family of withholding ‘the whole truth’, and earlier this year admitted that he had given up hope of ever seeing him again. 

And former Jordan team owner Eddie Jordan – who gave Schumacher his first start in the sport with a one-off driver at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix – revealed that he had been similarly sidelined, but said that he understood the family’s policy of strict privacy and a closer-than-close inner circle. 

Since the initial surgeries, little has been shared about the different procedures Schumacher may have undergone in a bid to improve his condition. But in 2019 it was reported that he underwent stem cell treatment in a bid to revive his nervous system, undergoing the cutting-edge procedure at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris. 

Treated by renowned cardio-thoracic surgeon Phillippe Menasche, Schumacher arrived for his procedures in an ambulance flanked by a 10-person-strong security team. It is thought that Schumacher may have had a second round of the treatment a year later, but this is unconfirmed. 

Following the treatment, reported by French outlet Le Parisien, medical staff said that Schumacher was ‘conscious’, but gave no further information. 

Besides this, a few key individuals in Schumacher’s inner circle have over the years revealed some insight into the legend’s current condition. 

Corinna Schumacher – loving wife, mother and the family rock  

Corinna has shouldered much of the responsibility for protecting her husband’s privacy and marshalling his inner circle since his accident. But prior to the tragedy, she was an inextricable part of his wild success as he rose to superstardom.  

She is an accomplished equestrian and sportswoman in her own right, having won a European championship in 2010, and also became a shrewd businesswoman, helping Michael and their advisers to make beneficial business decisions and investments as he racked up incredible sums of money from race wins, lucrative contracts and sponsorships. 

Speaking to German outlet Bild, Corinna’s friends said: ‘She was and still is underestimated by many today,’ adding that Michael was one of the few who truly understood just how strong she is. 

The racer spoke very highly of his wife in several interviews over the course of his career, openly declaring they made decisions together and that she was a source of immense strength. 

Corinna has given very few interviews since 2013, instead focusing on maintaining her husband’s privacy, managing his estate, and building world renowned horse ranches in Switzerland and Texas.

But the 2021 Netflix documentary ‘Schumacher’ saw Corinna open up more than ever before.

Sharing her enduring love for her husband, she explained how she misses their old life together, but affirmed that the man she married is still there.

‘I miss Michael every day. But it’s not just me who misses him. It’s the children, the family, his father, everyone around him,’ Corinna said. 

‘Everybody misses Michael, but Michael is here. Different, but here. He still shows me how strong he is every day.

‘I have never blamed God for what happened. It was just really bad luck – all the bad luck anyone can have in life.’

Corinna also discussed how she felt as if ‘guardian angels’ had been watching over Schumacher’s comparatively untroubled racing career. 

‘I don’t know if it’s just a kind of protective wall that you put up yourself or if it’s because you’re in a way naive – but it simply never occurred to me that anything could ever happen to Michael,’ she said. 

Corinna and Schumacher have been married since 1995 and she is fiercly protective over him

Corinna and Schumacher have been married since 1995 and she is fiercly protective over him

Corinna stated that she thought 'guardian angels' had been watching over her husband and assumed nothing bad would ever happen to him

Corinna stated that she thought ‘guardian angels’ had been watching over her husband and assumed nothing bad would ever happen to him

Michael's son Mick (pictured left with Corinna in 2017) was with his dad on the day of the tragic accident

Michael’s son Mick (pictured left with Corinna in 2017) was with his dad on the day of the tragic accident

Jean Todt – boss, friend, and family confidante 

Former Ferrari team principal and FIA president Todt remains one of Schumacher’s closest public-facing friends, and is believed to visit his former driver on a regular basis to watch F1 races together. 

Over the last decade, Todt has remained a trusted mouthpiece for the family, and the most visible person in the Schumacher firmament to offer details on Schumacher day-to-day. 

‘I see Michael very often – once or twice a month,’ the 77-year-old said in 2020. ‘(When asked how he is) my answer is the same all the time – he fights.’ 

The closest Todt has come to commenting directly on his friend’s health was in 2019, when he suggested Schumacher’s capacity to communicate is extremely limited.

‘Of course, our friendship can not be the same as it once was, just because there’s no longer the same communication as before,’ he said.

Then earlier this year, Todt was adamant that, whilst he did not miss Schumacher because he is still ‘here’, ‘he is simply not the Michael he used to be’. 

‘His life is different now and I have the privilege of sharing moments with him,’ Todt continued. ‘That’s all there is to say.

‘Unfortunately, fate struck him ten years ago. He is no longer the Michael we knew in Formula 1.’

The former president of FIA Jean Todt has shared select details of regular time spent with Schumacher

The former president of FIA Jean Todt has shared select details of regular time spent with Schumacher

Michael Schumacher of Germany (R) and team principal Jean Todt of Ferrari celebrate during the medal ceremony after winning the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 10, 2006 in Monza, Italy

Michael Schumacher of Germany (R) and team principal Jean Todt of Ferrari celebrate during the medal ceremony after winning the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 10, 2006 in Monza, Italy

German driver Michael Schumacher (L) smiles as he poses with Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello (R) and general manager Jean Todt during the official presentation of the new F1-2000 in Ferrari's headquarters in Maranello, February 7, 2000

German driver Michael Schumacher (L) smiles as he poses with Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello (R) and general manager Jean Todt during the official presentation of the new F1-2000 in Ferrari’s headquarters in Maranello, February 7, 2000

Mick Schumacher – continuing his father’s legacy

Schumacher’s son Mick was just 14 years old at the time of his father’s accident, which he witnessed first-hand, having accompanied his dad on the ill-fated excursion.

Since then he has become the most public-facing member of the family, carving out his own path in motorsport. 

He scooped titles in both Formula 3 and Formula 2 junior categories on his way to F1, where he secured a two-year stint as a driver for American constructor Haas. 

He was ultimately let go at the end of the 2022 season as Haas struggled to compete with larger, more successful teams, but was retained as a reserve driver by the Mercedes F1 team, which his father helped to launch back in 2010. He is now set to compete for constructor Alpine in the 2024 FIA world Endurance Championship.

Mick has also paid homage to his father’s career multiple times on the track in heartwarming exhibition events. He drove his father’s 1994 Benetton F1 car in show laps at Spa in 2017, piloted the record-breaking Ferrari F2004 at the Mugello racetrack in 2020, and most recently sported his father’s original Mercedes overalls and race helmet when driving at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed this summer. 

A chip off the old block, Mick is an extremely articulate and affable individual, and despite his commitment to maintain his father’s privacy he has often offered touching insights into their relationship. 

He has also frequently discussed the impact of his father’s staggering legacy in motorsport, saying that Schumacher had always told him to ‘do what you love’, giving him confidence to move from karting up the ranks of motorsport before his F1 debut. 

In 2018, Mick described his dad as ‘his idol’. 

‘It’s never easy (to consider my dad’s career),’ Mick said. ‘What my dad did was extraordinary. I appreciate it more every day.

‘I always want to compare myself to the best, and my father is the best. He’s also my idol. I’m pleased if I can compare myself to him.’

In a heart-rending scene in the Netflix documentary, Mick said he wished he could talk to his father about his burgeoning career and, while on the verge of tears, added that he would ‘give up everything’ for the opportunity to simply discuss F1 together.  

‘Since the accident, of course, these experiences, these moments that I believe many people have with their parents, are no longer present or to a lesser extent. And in my view, that is a little unfair,’ Mick said. 

‘I think me and dad, we would understand each other in a different way now. Simply because we speak a similar language – the language of motorsport – and that we would have a lot more to talk about.

‘And that is where my head is most of the time. Thinking that would be so cool… I would give up everything just for that.’

Mick and his father share a close bond and the young driver considers Schumacher 'his idol'

Mick and his father share a close bond and the young driver considers Schumacher ‘his idol’

Like Schumacher, Mick moved from karting into motorsport, and has since driven in F4, F3, F2, and F1

Like Schumacher, Mick moved from karting into motorsport, and has since driven in F4, F3, F2, and F1

This combination of pictures created on December 2, 2020, shows German Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher (R) celebrating on the podium of the Monza racetrack after the Italian Formula One Grand Prix, in Monza, on September 10, 2006, and his son Prema Racing's German driver Mick Schumacher (L) celebrating after winning the Formula Two championship race of the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit in Mogyorod near Budapest, on August 4, 2019

This combination of pictures created on December 2, 2020, shows German Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher (R) celebrating on the podium of the Monza racetrack after the Italian Formula One Grand Prix, in Monza, on September 10, 2006, and his son Prema Racing’s German driver Mick Schumacher (L) celebrating after winning the Formula Two championship race of the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit in Mogyorod near Budapest, on August 4, 2019

The 24-year-old drove for American constructors Haas for two seasons in F1 and now serves as a reserve driver for Mercedes and McLaren

The 24-year-old drove for American constructors Haas for two seasons in F1 and now serves as a reserve driver for Mercedes and McLaren

In July, Mick sported his father's original Mercedes overalls and helmet at Goodwood's Festival of Speed

In July, Mick sported his father’s original Mercedes overalls and helmet at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed

Ralf Schumacher – brother and fellow racer 

Whilst Schumacher’s immediate family – including his father Rolf, who lives close by the family house on Lake Geneva – remain extremely close to their patriarch, other family members, including Schumacher’s brother Ralf, have drifted. 

Ex-Formula One star Ralf Schumacher admits his brother Michael was like a 'coach and mentor' when the pair were growing up

Ex-Formula One star Ralf Schumacher admits his brother Michael was like a ‘coach and mentor’ when the pair were growing up

Ralf is not in close contact with Schumacher’s immediate family, but says he is always there to offer support.  

‘When I see his children Gina-Maria and Mick, my heart smiles,’ Ralf shared with German magazine Bunte in November as he detailed his distant relationship with the family. 

‘If someone in the family is looking for my advice, I’m there. They go their own way.’

The former F1 driver admitted: ‘I miss the Michael of the old days. Life is unfair from time to time. Michael was very lucky throughout his life. But then there was this tragic accident.’

Ralf, who won six F1 Grand Prix, emphasised that Michael had been more than just his older brother.

He told local media: ‘Michael wasn’t only my brother. When we were kids, he was also my coach and mentor. He taught me literally everything about kart racing.’

Ralf said: ‘There may be an age gap of seven years, but he was always by my side. We raced together, we practised overtaking manoeuvres and everything that matters in motorsports.’

The former Jordan and Williams driver underlined: ‘He passed on all the different things he had already internalised. I had the honour to learn from the best.’

Summing up Michael’s dire predicament, the 48-year-old entrepreneur and pundit added: ‘Fortunately, advanced medical science provides many opportunities. However, nothing is like it used to be.’

Will we ever see Schumacher in public again? 

If the first decade since the accident is anything to go by, those hoping to see the motorsport icon in public or receive a conclusive update on Schumacher’s condition are likely to be met only with disappointment.

In November, the family’s lawyer Felix Damm explained why his inner circle had chosen not to share a detailed update on his health.

‘It has always been a matter of protecting private information. Of course, we had a lot of discussions about how to do that.

‘We also considered whether a final announcement about Michael’s state of health could be the right way to go about it. But that wouldn’t have been the end of it and there would have had to be permanently updated ”water level reports”, he explained, suggesting that Schumacher’s condition is evolving. 

‘The media could take up such a report again and again and ask: ”And how does it look now?”, one, two, three months or years after the report. And if we then wanted to take action against this reporting, we would have to deal with the argument of voluntary self-opening.’

Damm recognised that the lack of information leaves Schumacher’s legions of dedicated fans without an answer as to the condition of their stricken hero, but argued that those who truly supported Michael would understand the family’s need for privacy. 

‘I believe that the vast majority of fans can deal with it well and also respect the fact that the accident has set in motion a process in which the private sanctuary is necessary and will now continue to be respected.’

One glimmer of hope has been provided however by Todt, who is one of very few individuals besides immediate family members to see Schumacher on a regular basis.

‘I hope the world will be able to see him again. That is what he and his family are working towards,’ he said. 

It remains to be seen whether Schumacher will ever make such a public return. But there is no question that his sheer mastery behind the wheel of a Formula One car, and the positive impact he had on the lives of millions around the world, will live on. 

Michael Schumacher of Germany and Ferrari celebrates on the podium after winning the French F1 Grand Prix at the Magny-Cours Circuit on July 4, 2004, in Magny-Cours, France

Michael Schumacher of Germany and Ferrari celebrates on the podium after winning the French F1 Grand Prix at the Magny-Cours Circuit on July 4, 2004, in Magny-Cours, France

Key moments and updates in Schumacher’s health journey 

December 29, 2013: Michael Schumacher suffers a traumatic brain injury in a skiing accident in the French Alps

Early 2014: Schumacher is placed in a medically induced coma to aid his recovery. Limited information is released about his condition, leading to widespread speculation

June 2014: Reports suggest that Schumacher is moved to a rehabilitation facility in Switzerland. Details about his progress remain private

September 2014: Sabine Kehm, Schumacher’s manager, announces that he is no longer in a coma and has left the hospital to continue his recovery at home in Switzerland

June 2015: Kehm issues a statement, stating that Schumacher’s rehabilitation is ongoing but emphasises the need for privacy

September 2016: Former Ferrari boss, Jean Todt, visits Schumacher and reports that the racing legend is ‘still fighting’. No specific details about his condition are disclosed

December 2016: Schumacher’s family releases a rare statement thanking fans for their continued support and reiterates their commitment to maintaining his privacy. ‘Michael’s health is not a public issue, and so we will continue to make no comment in that regard,’ the statement read

2018: Rumours surface that Schumacher has been secretly moved to a private mansion and medical facility in Majorca. The family deny this and the theory is widely discredited 

September 2019: Jean Todt provides another update, mentioning that Schumacher is making progress but acknowledges the severity of the brain injury. Schumacher undergoes stem cell treatment in France and doctors report he is ‘conscious’ but give no more information

September 2021: In a Netflix documentary, several members of Schumacher’s family, including wife Corinna and son Mick as well as other individuals like Todt, share insights into Michael’s condition. The information suggests he is conscious but cannot speak or communicate properly

November 2023: Lawyer Felix Damm says Schumacher’s family considered ‘whether a final announcement about Michael’s state of health could be the right way to go about it. But that wouldn’t have been the end of it and there would have had to be permanently updated ”water level reports”, suggesting that Schumacher’s condition is evolving. 

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