Ferrari fans will hold a silent 45th birthday tribute to Michael Schumacher – wearing red – outside his French hospital on Friday with the seven time Formula 1 World Champion in a coma and fighting for his life after a skiing accident, with experts predicting that he could remain in a coma for weeks.
The Formula 1 team’s Facebook page said that the Scuderia Ferrari Clubs wanted to show their support and were organising “a silent and respectful event all in red” at the Grenoble hospital where the German has been since shortly after his fall on Sunday.
Ferrari said that the team also planned a special tribute to their former driver, who won five successive titles with them, on the official Ferrari website.
Schumacher left Ferrari in 2006 but then came out of retirement in 2010 for a three-year comeback with Mercedes that ended unsuccessfully in 2012.
Ferrari wrote on their website: “This is a special day for Ferrari and all its fans, as it is Michael Schumacher’s birthday. At the moment, he is tackling the most important fight of his life and therefore we want to send him very special wishes. There have [been] so many wonderful moments we have spent together and we have chosen 72.”
“It’s not a random number, as it represents the number of wins Michael achieved with the Scuderia from 1996 to 2006: 72 grands prix that gave us and the millions of Prancing Horse fans from all over the world so much pleasure. These were unforgettable moments which, along with his passion, commitment and dedication makes Michael part of the great Ferrari family for ever.”
“Everyone at Ferrari, from President Luca di Montezemolo and Team Principal Stefano Domenicali, who are in touch all the time with Michael’s family and those closest to him, are continuously watching how his situation evolves. Obviously, today there are double the [usual] reasons to wish him all the best.”
The most successful driver in F1 history, with 91 race wins to his credit, suffered head injuries while skiing off piste during a family vacation in the Alpine resort of Meribel on Sunday.
His agent Sabine Kehm said on Wednesday that he was in a stable condition and it was too early to talk about his further prospects. No further update was given on Thursday, the day before his birthday.
Doctors have carried out two operations so far, including one to remove a build-up of blood from his brain.
Schumacher’s family posted a message on his official website thanking all the well-wishers from around the world.
“They are giving us great support,” it said. “We all know he is a fighter and will not give up.”
Schumacher could remain in his coma for weeks, or even months according to Professor Uwe Kehler, the highly respected head of neurosurgery at the Asklepios hospital in Hamburg.
As is much of the world at present, he is also watching with keen interest the progress in Grenoble of the injured F1 legend.
“Generally, it takes two to three weeks until a patient with such a severe trauma can be woken up,” said Professor Kehler. “But it can take days or even weeks until the patient opens his eyes. Unfortunately, it is also possible that the person does not wake up properly.” (Reuters-GMM)
Subbed by AJN.