Schumacher still critical, no updates planned “for time being”

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As has been the case for the last four or five days, there isn’t any new news regarding Michael Schumacher’s health. The seven-time Formula One World Champion remains in a medically induced coma, with the situation still considered critical.

A statement from University Center Hospital in Grenoble, France on Monday provided an update, which more or less continued the reiteration that there won’t be updates unless there is new news. On Saturday, Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm warned against any false or invalid reports.

“The clinical state of Michael Schumacher is stable as he’s under permanent care and treatment,” Grenoble hospital said in the statement. “However, the medical team in charge stresses that it continues to assess his situation as critical.”

“The privacy of the statement demands that we are not going into details of his treatment, and this is why we do not plan any press conferences, nor give out written press releases, anymore for the time being,” the statement added.

“We again insistently ask you to…stick to the information given by the medical team in charge of the patient or his management, as this is the only valid information.”

The next potential piece of news that could emerge is the status of an alleged mobile-phone video taken of the skiing accident itself. Per the Associated Press, a French state prosecutor said he wants to obtain that if possible. A further update on that front could occur mid-week.

F1 2017 driver review: Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 5
Races: 20
Wins: 5
Podiums (excluding wins): 8
Pole Positions: 4
Fastest Laps: 5
Points: 317
Laps Led: 286
Championship Position: 2nd

2017 was supposed to be the year Sebastian Vettel finally fulfilled his ambition of emulating Michael Schumacher by returning Ferrari to its championship-winning heyday.

Instead, it ended in disappointment and frustration – once again.

Ferrari arguably made a greater step across the change in technical regulations for 2017 than any other team, living up to its pre-season tag as favorite by winning the opening round in Australia in fashion.

Vettel and Ferrari led their respective championships following the Monaco Grand Prix as the German ended a 16-year win drought for the Prancing Horse in the principality, and even heading into the summer break, a shot at both championships was looking good.

However, cracks had started to appear. Vettel’s remarkable antics behind the safety car in Baku sparked controversy after driving into Hamilton, suggesting the tension of the title fight was beginning to take its toll on the German.

The final run of flyaways was where things really fell apart for Vettel, though. Singapore looked to be a slam-dunk win, only for a start-line crash also involving teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen to put 25 free points in Hamilton’s pocket.

Reliability woes then struck in Malaysia and Japan – two more races Vettel could realistically have won – to make it game over in the title race, with Hamilton wrapping things up in Mexico.

Vettel only finished the year 46 points back from Hamilton, proving the impact the three bad races in Asia had. Realistically, this was a title race that should have gone down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Instead, Vettel remains a four-time champion, level with Hamilton, who had just one to his name back in 2013 when his rival secured his fourth.

Ferrari’s internal issues will come under the microscope over the off-season, and Vettel himself knows there is plenty to work on. Staying cool under pressure and not letting things boil over as in Baku is the most obvious area for improvement.

But there is reason for hope. If Ferrari can keep up with Mercedes and repeat its impressive step into 2017 through the upcoming off-season, we may well be treated to another Vettel/Hamilton scrap at the front of the field, perhaps settling once and for all who is the greatest driver of the post-Schumacher era.

Season High: A crucial win in Hungary despite battling with a broken steering column.

Season Low: Letting tensions flare in Baku and hitting Hamilton behind the safety car.