Michael Schumacher is “making progress” in his recovery five-and-a-half years after the German racing driver suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident, according to his former boss.
Jean Todt, the Formula One star’s former manager at Ferrari, gave fans a rare update on his condition in an interview with Radio Monte-Carlo.
Mr Todt, one of the driver’s closest confidantes, said Mr Schumacher, 50, was making “good progress” and the pair watched F1 races on television.
“I’m always careful with such statements, but it’s true,” Mr Todt said. “I saw the race together with Michael Schumacher at his home in Switzerland."
Since he hit his head on a rock while skiing in the French Alps in December 2013, Mr Schumacher’s wife Corinna has kept his condition private and his fans have had little news.
He was placed in a coma for months after the tragic accident and was pulled out gradually, a process completed in June 2014. He has not been seen in public since the accident. Doctors said he was lucky to have survived.
“Michael is in the best hands and is well looked after in his house. He does not give up and keeps fighting,” Mr Todt said.
However, he revealed that Mr Schumacher struggles to communicate, which “saddens” his former boss. “His family is fighting just as much and of course our friendship cannot be the same as it once was just because there’s no longer the same communication as before,” said Mr Todt, who visits Mr Schumacher regularly and is now president of the FIA International Automobile Federation, motorsport’s governing body.
Mr Schumacher’s son Mick, 20, has begun racing Formula 2 for Ferrari. He has paid tribute to his father but has revealed little about his state of health. “The one person I would want to [be like] is my dad," he said before the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
Michael Schumacher fell and banged his head against a rock in the accident at the Méribel resort in France. He was seriously injured despite wearing a helmet.
Last month, Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 chief, said Mr Schumacher “is not with us at the moment. But when he gets better, he’ll answer all the questions.”