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Michael Schumacher is one of Formula One’s most legendary drivers, but as he nears a decade off the track, his professional record is ripe for the taking. Lewis Hamilton edged ahead of him in 2021 with a spate of new wins, now the most in the sport’s relatively short history. Schumacher stepped back from the sport as its most revered racer with an unmatched clutch of titles eight years ago in 2013 after he sustained a severe injury.
Former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt, who is now president of the FIA, has claimed Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, helped to keep him alive after his accident.
Her desire to stop him from dying ultimately kept him from death, according to Todt. He told Bild: “I’ve spent a lot of time with Corinna since Michael had his serious skiing accident on December 29, 2013. She is a great woman and runs the family.
“She hadn’t expected that. It happened suddenly and she had no choice. But she does it very well. I trust her, she trusts me.
“Thanks to the work of his doctors and the cooperation of Corinna, who wanted him to survive, he survived – but with consequences.
“And right now you are fighting the consequences. We hope that things will slowly but surely improve.”
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Michael Schumacher should have celebrated his 52nd birthday on January 3, 2021, but instead is holed up at home after suffering a debilitating accident.
In December 2013, while on a skiing trip with his family, Schumacher suffered a severe brain injury when descending the Combe de Saulire near Méribel in the French Alps with his son Mick.
While crossing an off-piste area between Piste Chamois and Piste Mauduit, he fell and hit his head on a rock.
Despite wearing a skiing helmet, he suffered catastrophic injuries. Schumacher was rushed to hospital and kept in a coma following the dramatic accident while doctors worked to save the racing champion.
They slowly pulled him out of unconsciousness, which they completed one year later in 2014.
Michael Schumacher is still undergoing rehabilitation
Afterwards, his family moved him home to Gland, Switzerland, where he continues his rehabilitation.
In 2014, the Telegraph reported the racer was “paralysed and in a wheelchair”.
Schumacher’s former Ferrari boss Todt said the racer has remained strong.
He told Radio Monte-Carlo in 2019 he had watched an F1 race with the driver, and he “keeps on fighting”.
Mr Todt said: “I’m always careful with such statements, but it’s true.”
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“I saw the race together with Michael Schumacher at his home in Switzerland.
“Michael is in the best hands and is well looked after in his house.
“He does not give up and keeps fighting.”
Mr Todt mentioned their relationship is not quite the same as it once was, and Schumacher’s family continues to fight with him.
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Luca Badoer said Schumacher’s wife is the one who decides who visits
He continued: “His family is fighting just as much and 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 continues to fight. And his family is fighting the same way.”
Another optimistic update came from F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, who said last month he was anticipating Michael could one day answer questions on his health himself.
He said: “He is not with us at the moment. But when he gets better, he’ll answer all the questions.”
While Schumacher continues on the road to recovery, only select people are allowed to see him.
Luca Badoer, a former colleague of Schumacher’s at Ferrari, said only his wife chooses who is allowed to visit.
He said: “Only a few people are allowed to visit Schumacher.
“His wife Corinna decides who is allowed to see him.”
Corinna Schumacher thanked Michael for doing “everything”
While Mr Schumacher recovers, Italian Grand Prix winner Charles Leclerc has been hailed as his successor on the track.
FIA president Todt and Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn compared the Monegasque driver to the recovering racing hero.
Mr Leclerc said: “It’s always very nice to hear these type of things. But I’m only 21, I haven’t proved anything compared to what Michael has.
“So for now it’s it’s way too far to speak about these things I’m working on my career, trying to have the best career possible on my side.
“But obviously to be compared with this one, with these people it’s always an honour but it seems very far to me.”
Michael and Corinna Schumacher
In her first interview since Mr Schumacher’s injury, Michael’s wife Corinna thanked the F1 legend for “doing everything”.
She said: “When I was 30, I very much wanted to have a horse and Michael went with me to Dubai, where I intended to buy an Arabian horse.
“He did everything for me. I will never forget who I have to thank.
“That would be my husband Michael.”
Michael Schumacher’s wife has denied visitation for Willi Weber
According to Michael Schumacher’s former manager Willi Weber, Corinna has denied requests of a visit.
Speaking on an RTL special commemorating his maiden title win 25 years ago, he said:“I know that Michael has been badly hurt, but unfortunately not what progress he makes in rehab.
“I’d like to know how he’s doing and shake hands or stroke his face. But unfortunately this is rejected by Corinna.
“She probably fears that I will immediately recognise what is going on and make the truth public.”
Michael Schumacher’s family has the final say in footage for the upcoming film
Corinna Schumacher continues to make most of the decisions for her family, and has the final say along with Michael Schumacher’s father Rolf and their children Gina and Mick over footage used in an upcoming film about them.
According to production company B/14, development of the upcoming film – which was due for release next month – has now been postponed due to the “extensive material” included in the production.
One B/14 spokesman told Bild: “The directors and producers want to give themselves more time to complete the film due to the very extensive material.
“The new release date will be announced in due course.”