'Can only hope': Close friend's sad update on Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher, pictured here during the Italian Grand Prix in 2009.
Michael Schumacher looks on during the Italian Grand Prix in 2009. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Michael Schumacher's former boss at Ferrari has provided a sad update after his latest visit with the stricken Formula One legend.

Jean Todt is among the few people allowed to visit Schumacher as the mystery surrounding his condition lingers on eight years after his accident.

'NEEDS EXPLAINING': F1 world erupts over Daniel Ricciardo act

'STRUGGLING': Battle behind Casey Stoner's devastating diagnosis

Todt has been visiting his close friend regularly in recent months and providing snippets of information to the public desperate for updates on the beloved icon's health.

But Todt was unable to provide any real updates in his latest statements this week, a telling response as the mystery around Schumacher's condition remains.

"I can understand why his family and friends are protecting him because we should leave him in peace," Todt told the Mail on Sunday.

"Michael is fighting, he is fighting, and we can only hope that he will improve."

When asked whether Schumacher recognises him during his visits, Todt reportedly shrugged, smiled and gave a hand gesture - but didn't verbalise a response.

The Ferrari legend's family has been notoriously private when it comes to providing information to the public in the years since his accident.

Todt predicted last month that Schumacher will "slowly and surely improve".

However Piero Ferrari - vice-chairman and son of the famous car manufacturer's founder - revealed 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.”

Michael Schumacher question that will never be answered

Speaking in a recent Netflix documentary about Schumacher's life, wife Corrina revealed her reasons for being so private about her husband's condition.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the accident in 2013, Corrina said her husband would have wanted it this way.

"'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 said.

“Michael always protected us and now we are protecting Michael.

Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher, pictured here celebrating after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Jean Todt (centre) and Michael Schumacher (R) celebrate after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix. (Photo by Allsport via Getty).

“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 Webber 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.”

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.