F1 CELEBRATES – MICHAEL SCHUMACHER’S 52ND BIRTHDAY
The world of Formula 1 has come together to celebrate Michael Schumacher on the seven-time world champion’s 52nd birthday.
The German great has not been seen in public for more than seven years after suffering brain injuries in a skiing accident, but his impact on the sport remains strong – as evidenced by the weight of tributes posted.
Ferrari, the team synonymous with the bulk of Schumacher’s greatest F1 successes were quick to mark his birthday, as were Mercedes, with whom he brought the curtain down on his racing career in 2012.
Here we round up the tributes paid to F1’s ultimate star, while everyone at F1Lead wishes Michael and his family the very best for 2020.
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER SITUATION SEEMS TO BE IMPROVING BUT IN SMALL STEPS
Michael Schumacher was kept in a coma following his accident while doctors worked to save the racing champion.
They slowly pulled him out of unconsciousness, which they completed one year later in 2014.
Afterwards, his family moved him home to Gland, Switzerland, where he continues his rehabilitation.
In 2014, reported the racer was “paralysed and in a wheelchair”.
Schumacher’s former Ferrari boss Jean 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.”
“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.
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.”
While Mr Schumacher recovers, Italian Grand Prix winner Charles Leclerc has been hailed as his successor on the track.
FIA president Jean 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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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