Race ace Michael Schumacher could soon lead a "relatively normal life"

Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher could soon lead a relatively normal life although he is unlikely to drive a Formula One car again, said former Ferrari chief executive Jean Todt after a visit on Tuesday to the stricken German star's
Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher could soon lead a relatively normal life although he is unlikely to drive a Formula One car again, said former Ferrari chief executive Jean Todt after a visit on Tuesday to the stricken German star's home in Switzerland. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher could soon lead a relatively normal life although he is unlikely to drive a Formula One car again, said former Ferrari chief executive Jean Todt after a visit on Tuesday to the stricken German star's home in Switzerland.

Schumacher, 45, was left with severe brain injuries following a ski accident on the French Alps last December, and was subsequently led into a medically-induced coma to help reduce the swelling of his brain. He then spent two months in a rehabilitation clinic in Lausanne, Switzerland, before returning to his Swiss mansion two months ago.

"We must assume that Schumacher can lead a relatively normal life again within a short period of time," said Todt, who struck up a friendship with Schumacher during their time at Ferrari. "We can say he can probably never drive a Formula One car again. But he is fighting. His condition improved, and what is just as important is the fact that he is now at home with his family."

Schumacher and his wife Corinna have two children, Mick and Gina-Maria, who reportedly spend hours every day by their father's bedside. The 15-year old Mick appears to be following in his father's footsteps, having come in second in the recent German Kart Championship. He was also runner-up in the World Junior Championship in France last month.

Online reports say Schumacher is being cared for by a team of 15 medical experts at his home, where a mini-clinic has been constructed. Medical care for the racing legend, who is worth around £300 million (S$615,731,721), is estimated to be costing the family £100,000 per month.

While the update about Schumacher's condition is a breath of fresh air in light of news of fellow F1 driver Jules Bianchi's serious head injury sustained last Sunday at the Japanese Grand Prix, it has been said that Schumacher is still immobile and unable to speak.

Todt, now president of the International Automobile Federation, said: "In the past weeks and months, he has made progress in relation to the severity of his injury. But a long and hard road is in front of him. Hopefully things will improve. His family is close to him. He needs time and peace."

brynasim@sph.com.sg