sport

Schumacher's family calm fears

Michael Schumacher's family have allayed mounting fears about his condition by revealing they still "strongly believe" the former F1 World Champion will recover from the life-threatening skiing accident that has left him in a coma for almost two months.

Schumacher has been in a medically-induced coma at Grenoble Hospital since suffering severe head injuries whilst skiing with his family and friends in the French Alps at the end of December.

In an apparent response to alarming reports this week in Schumacher's native Germany that he had contracted pneumonia, a statement from the family - only the second public announcement from Schumacher's inner circle since January 17 - described the 45-year-old as still being in the 'waking up process'.

'Michael's family would like to again express their sincere thanks for the continuous sympathy coming from all over the world. The good wishes they receive help the family and, we are convinced they also help Michael, who still is in a waking up process,' the statement read.

'As often in such situation, no day is like the next. The family is thankful for one's understanding that they would not wish to disclose medical details in order to protect Michael's privacy. As assured from the beginning we will continue to communicate any decisive new information on Michael's health state. We are aware that the wake up phase can take a long time.

'The family continues to strongly believe in Michael's recovery and place all their trust in the doctors, nurses and nursing auxiliaries team. The important thing is not the speed of the recovery but that Michael's healing process progresses in a continuous and controlled way.'

It was announced two weeks ago that the sedation keeping Schumacher in his coma was being eased.

Despite repeatedly urging fans not to heed speculation about Schumacher's condition, a dearth of official updates has seen rumour and gossip flourish on social media sites, with the besieged Grenoble Hospital last week forced to deny claims that the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver had died.

The F1 fraternity has united in offering its support to Schumacher with both of his former teams running tributes to their ex-driver during the recent Jerez test.