Michael Schumacher’s family issued a rare public statement around his medical condition on the eve of his 50th birthday, stating that they are “doing everything humanly possible” to help the seven-time Formula One world champion.
Schumacher turns 50 on January 3, but the most decorated star in F1 history has not been seen in public since he fell and hit his head in a skiing accident on the French Alps five years ago.
He is understood to be receiving medical care at the family home near Lake Geneva in Switzerland, but updates regarding his health have been few and far between.
The wall of secrecy, enforced at the request of his wife Corinna, was established to protect one of the biggest names in modern sporting times.
But the sporadic offerings about a driver who won a record seven world championships, 91 grands prix, and commanded a following of millions around the world, have led some to ponder whether more details should be made public.
The family seemingly obliged by releasing a statement on January 2, although any medical information was again kept from the public.
“You can be sure that he is in the very best of hands and that we are doing everything humanly possible to help him,” it read.
“Please understand if we are following Michael’s wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy.
“At the same time we say thank you very much for your friendship and wish you a healthy and happy year 2019.”
Ross Brawn, one of only a handful of people to have visited the stricken driver, believes Schumacher’s family are right to conceal his medical condition.
Schumacher’s former manager, Willi Weber said in 2017: “I find it very unfortunate that Michael’s fans do not know about his health. Why are they not being told the truth?”
Yet Brawn, who helped mastermind Schumacher’s success at Benetton and Ferrari, and has visited the former champion in Switzerland, does not concur.