Michael Schumacher is having “moments of consciousness and awakening” according to spokesperson Sabine Kehm, as doctors continue to try and wake him from his medically-induced coma.
The seven time Formula 1 world champion suffered a severe head injury in a skiing accident at the end of last year, and has been in hospital at Grenoble ever since under close scrutiny from a team of doctors and neurosurgeons.
Following many conflicting reports from unofficial sources, Schumacher’s management has now released the following statement:
“Michael is making progress. He shows moments of consciousness and awakening. We are at his side during his long and difficult fight, together with the team at the hospital in Grenoble, and we keep remaining confident.
“We would like to thank you all for the continuing sympathies. At the same time we again ask for understanding that we do not intend to disclose details. This is necessary to protect the privacy of Michael and his family, and to enable the medical team to work in full calmness.”
As with any head injury, it is incredibly difficult to make assumptions or cast a judgement without being directly involved with the case, meaning that official statements such as the one issued today are very valuable.
In a touching gesture, the Bahrain International Circuit has named its first corner after Schumacher ahead of this weekend’s grand prix. This encouraging news from Grenoble is only set to lift spirits in the paddock as the F1 community continues to lend its support to Schumacher and his family.
We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.
And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.
After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.
In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.
Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.
“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.
“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”
Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.
“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”
Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.