Schumacher being brought slowly out of medically induced coma

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Sabine Kehm, the press officer for Michael Schumacher, has confirmed that doctors are now slowly bringing the seven-time Formula One World Champion out of his medically induced coma.

Schumacher has been in a Grenoble, France hospital since sustaining a major head injury in a skiing accident on Dec. 29 in the French ski resort of Meribel. He has had two operations, the most recent involving the removal of a prominent hematoma.

Today’s statement reads:

“The family of Michael Schumacher is again requesting to respect its privacy and the medical secret, and to not disturb the doctors treating Michael in their work. At the same time, the family wishes to express sincere appreciation for the world-wide sympathy.

“Michael’s sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking-up process, which may take a long time. For the protection of the family, it was originally agreed by the interested parties to communicate this information only once this process was consolidated. Please note that no further updates will be given.”

It marks the first official medical update on Schumacher since he was confirmed to be in a “stable” condition earlier this month.

Schumacher remains in the thoughts of Formula One fans around the world, and the teams currently testing in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain have also shown their support for the stricken champion – including the teams he drove for, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Shortly after today’s confirmation from Kehm, Mercedes tweeted: “We are all closely following the latest news from Grenoble. Our thoughts are with the Schumacher family. #KeepFightingMichael.”

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

VEACH OUT: Driver elects to vacate seat for rest of season

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”