Michael Schumacher’s one-time rival Damon Hill has described the German’s plight as a “terrible tragedy” and a reminder to “treasure every day”.
On Friday, it will mark 10 years since Schumacher’s skiing accident in the French Alps where he hit his head on a rock and suffered a near-fatal brain injury.
Schumacher, now 54, has been kept out of public view ever since, with only a handful of visitors allowed inside the family home near Lake Geneva in Switzerland where he is receiving round-the-clock medical care.
The former Ferrari and Benetton driver claimed the first of his seven world championships following a controversial season finale in Adelaide in 1994 where he was accused of ramming Hill off the road.
Reflecting on Schumacher’s condition, Hill, 63, told the PA news agency: “It is a terrible tragedy. This is not how you want anyone to end up.
“It makes you treasure every day and be thankful for your good fortune. I think about his family. It is so hard for them.”
Updates regarding Schumacher’s health have been few and far between, and a representative for the family told PA that there are no plans to acknowledge the anniversary of his accident.
His wife Corinna, offered a rare insight on her husband’s state in a Netflix documentary in 2021.
“I miss Michael every day,” said Corinna, who has enforced a wall of secrecy to protect one of the biggest names in modern sporting times.
“But it is not just me who misses him. It’s the children, the family, his father, everyone around him. I mean, everybody misses Michael, but Michael is here.
“Different, but he’s here, and that gives us strength. We’re together. We live together at home. We do therapy. We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he’s comfortable. And to simply make him feel our family, our bond.
“‘Private is private’, as he always said. It’s very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible. Michael always protected us and now we are protecting Michael.”
Schumacher added to the two titles he won at Benetton with five championship triumphs for Ferrari at the turn of the century, posting a series of records many viewed as untouchable.
Lewis Hamilton has since matched Schumacher’s collection of titles and surpassed his 91 wins. Hamilton, 38, who is contracted to drive for Mercedes until the end of 2025, has 103 victories.
Schumacher’s son, Mick, is currently a reserve driver for Hamilton’s Mercedes team having spent two seasons with Haas before he was dropped at the end of last year.