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Ferrari 'anxious' about Schumacher

Montezemolo 'in constant contact' with family

30 December, 14:02
Ferrari 'anxious' about Schumacher (ANSA) - Maranello, December 30 - Ferrari on Monday voiced concern for their former ace Michael Schumacher after a French hospital said it was too early to say if the Formula One legend would survive head trauma from a skiing accident on Sunday.

"Everyone at Ferrari has been in a state of anxiety since hearing about Michael Schumacher's accident," said a statement posted on the Italian Formula One team's website. "That includes the president, Luca di Montezemolo, who through the Scuderia team principal Stefano Domenicali is in constant contact with the family and those close to the German champion," it said.

"Montezemolo has offered his encouragement and support at this very difficult time, with the hope that better news will come soon".

Seven-time F1 champion Schumacher, who won five straight titles with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004, was skiing off-piste with his son in the French Alps when he fell and cracked his head on a rock. Doctors working to prevent permanent brain injury say a helmet likely saved his life. The 44-year-old German ex-driver, who was champ for Benetton in 1994 and 1995 and retired in 2012 after a disappointing three-year comeback with Mercedes, has been in a coma and in critical condition since the fall.

Doctors refused Monday to predict the outcome of brain surgery on F1's most successful driver, saying they were assessing his condition "hour by hour".

Chief anesthesiologist Jean-Francois Payen told reporters Schumacher was still in a medically induced coma.

"We cannot predict the future for Michael Schumacher," Payen said. "It's too soon to talk about." Schumacher arrived at the Grenoble University Hospital Center Sunday evening and underwent brain surgery after an initial diagnosis of concussion proved to be much more serious. Doctors said he had suffered "extensive" brain damage.

On Sunday morning the 91 grands prix winner was skiing with his 14-year-old son Mick in the French Alpine resort of Meribel, about 130 km southeast of Geneva, when the accident occurred.

"Someone who had suffered this accident without a helmet would not have made it this far," Payen said.

Jean Todt, Schumacher's former Ferrari team boss and now president of motorsport's governing body FIA was at the hospital along with Ross Brawn, the technical director who helped the German win all his titles, first at Benetton and then with Ferrari. Schumacher has been seriously hurt twice before, breaking his leg in a crash at Silverstone in 1999 and suffering serious neck and spine injuries after a motorcycling accident in February 2009 in Spain.

After his retirement last year he said he wanted to spend more time with wife Corinna Betsch and their two children, Mick and Gina-Maria.