The first official word of Michael Schumacher’s improvement has been relayed Wednesday from his manager and spokesperson, Sabine Kehm.
Official reports have been minimal since Schumacher’s skiing accident December 29.
Today Kehm said in a statement released to media that Schumacher is showing occasional “small, encouraging signs” but warns to “be patient.”
Additionally, she said the time of the recovery process isn’t as important. Still, the fact she has said there are signs of progress is a first, and a very important bit of news.
The full statement reads as follows:
“We are and remain confident that Michael will pull through and will wake up. There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know that this is the time to be very patient.
“Michael has suffered severe injuries. It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation.
“It was clear from the start that this will be a long and hard fight for Michael. We are taking this fight on together with the team of doctors, whom we fully trust. The length of the process is not the important part for us.”
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.