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Details about Michael Schumacher's condition have been notoriously shrouded in secrecy for years but the son of Italian motorsport icon Enzo Ferrari has offered a rare, albeit brief insight.
Updates about Schumacher's health and current condition are still very murky some eight years after his devastating skiing accident in 2013.
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The Ferrari legend's family has been notoriously private when it comes to providing information to the public.
Schumacher's close friend and former boss at Ferrari Jean Todt predicted just last month that the F1 great will "slowly and surely improve" after visiting him regularly over the past 12 months.
Now Piero Ferrari — vice-chairman and son of the famous car manufacturer's founder - has provided a clue about what the German seven-time world champion is up against.
Speaking at an awards ceremony in Rome, Ferrari hit out at some of the language around Schumacher, while revealing that he is still unable to communicate.
“I’m sorry we talk about him today as if he were dead,” Ferrari said.
“He’s not dead, he’s there but he can’t communicate.”
Ferrari said he had fond memories of his time together with Schumacher before the tragic accident.
“I had the pleasure of having Schumacher as a guest at home and drinking a bottle of red wine together,” he said.
“He really enjoyed having these moments of intimacy and tranquillity.”
Schumacher's wife Corrina has has been notoriously private when it comes to providing information to the public about her husband's condition and she recently revealed why in a new Netflix documentary about the F1 great's life and accident.
Michael Schumacher has always been very private
"'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,” Corinna says.
“Michael always protected us and now we are protecting Michael.
“What he really didn’t like was the press, the people, all the hype around him. That’s not what he wanted. He wanted to do the sport.
“Michael is very suspicious. He always has been, during the initial period. Until he thinks he knows someone or can trust them, then he opens up completely.”
Schumacher's former manager Willi Weber has previously expressed his disappointment at not being able to visit him or find out what is going on.
“I know that Michael has been hit hard, but unfortunately I do not know what progress he makes,” Weber said.
“I’d like to know how he’s doing and shake hands or stroke his face. But unfortunately, this is rejected by Corinna.
“She’s probably afraid that I’ll see right away what’s going on and make the truth public.”
Indeed, Todt revealed in a previous update how Corrina runs the family and said it was largely because of her that Schumacher is still alive.
“I've spent a lot of time with Corinna since Michael had his serious skiing accident... She is a great woman and runs the family," he said.
“She hadn't expected that. It happened suddenly and she had no choice. But she does it very well. I trust her, she trusts me.
“Thanks to the work of his doctors and the cooperation of Corinna, who wanted him to survive, he survived - but with consequences.”
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