NEW F1 world champion Max Verstappen has shared his memories of "uncle" Michael Schumacher who he spent time with during family holidays when he was growing up.
The life of Formula 1 legend, Michael Schumacher, has been kept closely under wraps since he suffered a horrific brain injury while skiing in 2013.
What happened to Michael Schumacher?
Schumacher suffered a horrific ski crash while with his son Mick, who was 14 at the time, on the slopes above Méribel in the French Alps on December 29, 2013.
He fell and hit his head on a rock while crossing an off-piste area – suffering a serious head injury despite wearing a ski helmet.
Doctors said he would most likely have died had he not been wearing the safety gear, and the world champ was airlifted to Grenoble Hospital.
Schumacher immediately under went two surgeries.
He was put into a medically induced coma after suffering what was described as a "traumatic brain injury".
The former Ferrari and Mercedes driver was brought out of the coma by June 2014 and was released to go and rehabilitate at his home in Switzerland.
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Since then information on his treatment and his condition has been patchy despite the intense interest from fans and the press.
The Telegraph reported that the F1 legend was "paralysed and in a wheelchair" in 2014.
His tragic ski accident came just over a year after he retired from F1 in 2012.
He had mounted a brief comeback for three seasons with the new Mercedes team after initially hanging up his helmet in 2006.
The German joined his old team boss Ross Brawn and eventual world champ teammate Nico Rosberg from 2010 to 2012 after Mercedes took over world championship winning Brawn GP outfit at the end of 2009.
The 91-time Grand Prix winner didn't enjoy much success in his three season comeback – scoring just one podium, but showed flashes of his former brilliance.
Schumacher is credited with helping to lay the groundwork for the team which has dominated the sport ever since with Lewis Hamilton, who would have outstripped Schumacher's record if he had managed to win his eighth title in 2020. For now the German's joint record remains safe for another year.
Last year, his family broke their eight-year silence on the seven-time world champion's condition in a new Netflix documentary examining his illustrious career.
How is Michael Schumacher doing now?
Information about Schumacher's ongoing health and condition remains closely guarded by his family and manager, but they have now opened up about the accident in a Netflix documentary, which was released in September last year.
Some small pieces of information have been made public over the past seven years since his crash, but 'SCHUMACHER' delves deeper than ever before into the life of the racing legend.
It features interviews with members of Michael's close family, including his father Rolf and brother Ralf, as well as his dedicated wife Corinna and their two children, Gina and Mick.
It also includes conversations with racing royalty such as ean Todt, Bernie Ecclestone, Sebastian Vettel, Mika Häkkinen, Damon Hill, Flavio Briatore and David Coulthard.
December 2013 – After his crash, Schumacher is rushed to Grenoble Hospital where he undergoes two surgeries and is placed into a coma.
Professor Jean-Francois Payen describes his condition as "extremely serious" and says the F1 champ underwent a brain scan.
"He is in a critical condition and his condition is said to be extremely serious. He is in intensive care," he said.
April 2014 – Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm tells the press that the racer is showing "moments of consciousness" as he emerged from his coma.
She added he was making "progress" – but noted Schumacher was facing a "long difficult fight" on the road to recovery.
Kehm also insisted the family did not intend to give a running commentary on his condition.
June 2014 – Schumacher is reported to have regained consciousness fully and is transferred to the University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland.
September 2014 – Schumacher leaves the Swiss hospital and returns to his family home in Gland on the shores of Lake Geneva to continue his recovery.
His manager Kehm again insists that he has made "progress" but a "long and difficult road" remains ahead for the F1 star.
November 2014 – Former racing driver Philippe Streiff, a friend of Schumacher, claims the seven-time champion cannot speak, is paralysed, and is using a wheelchair.
"He is getting better but everything is relative. It’s very difficult," the former F1 driver told French radio.
May 2015 – Kehm delivers a video message in the first official update on his condition for months as part of a launch event for a watch that Schumacher helped design.
"We are happy to say still he does improvement and I say this always considering the severeness of the injury he had," she said.
She added: "But of course it will take a very long time for everybody involved to fight, and we are happy to take this fight."
February 2016 – Cryptic comments by Schumacher's former Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo spark further speculation about the driver's health.
"I have news and unfortunately it is not good," he told reporters, adding
"Life is strange. He was a fantastic driver and only had one accident with Ferrari in 1999."
Schumacher's team decline to comment on his remarks.
September 2016 – Schumacher's lawyer Felix Damm tells a
German court that his client "cannot walk" as part of a lawsuit against magazine Die Bunte.
"Michael cannot even stand with the help of his special therapists. I cannot make any other comments about Michael's health situation," he said.
Die Bunte had claimed Schumacher was able to take steps and raise an arm months previously, which was rebutted by Kehm.
August 2018 – French magazine Paris March reported that "close relatives" told them the F1 champ remains in a wheelchair.
It was claimed that Schumacher cries when he is rolled to look at the panoramic landscapes around his home.
Previous reports had also claimed the racer cried when he heard his children's voices, or saw his wife Corinna.
July 2019 – F1 boss Jean Todt offers one of the most detailed health updates in years which speaking to Radio Monte-Carlo.
He reveals he visits Schumacher and the duo have even watched F1 races together on television.
The former Ferrari boss insists that he is making "good progress" – but adds he has to be "careful" with his statements.
February 2019 – Schumacher is reported to have spent the winter at his family's luxury £26million Majorca villa with round-the-clock carers.
Neighbours told Bunte they saw the German racing legend arrive by dark blue helicopter at Port d’Andratx on the Spanish island.
The family purchased the property in 2018 – and it reportedly has two swimming pools, a large manicured garden, helipad and stunning sea views.
September 2019 – Le Parisien reports Schumacher has been admitted to the Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou in Paris to undergo stem cell treatment.
It is claimed he was under the care of pioneering surgeon Philippe Menasché.
Pictures emerge allegedly showing a private ambulance that had brought Schumacher to the hospital, and medical staff were quoted as saying he was "conscious".
June 2020 – Schumacher's son Mick releases an open letter about his father as he looked destined to follow him into F1 as he impressed while racing in F2.
While not giving any updates on his health, Mick's wrote: "He is always my father in the first place."
He added: "I don't take the lessons he passed on to me as a matter of course. One of these lessons is to remain constant, never to be too euphoric or too depressed."
June 2020 – Schumacher is reported to have had further stem cell treatments delayed due to the Covid pandemic.
It is also claimed the F1 driver was suffering muscle atrophy and osteoporosis, a bone wasting disease, from being confined to bed for six years.
Dr Nicola Acciari said: "The goal is to regenerate Michael’s nervous system."
November 2020 – F1 boss Todt again speaks out on Schumacher and says he visits him regularly, during which the two watch TV together.
"His fight continues, along with his family and doctors,” Todt told De Telegraaf newspaper.
However, he declines to comment when asked if Schumacher is aware of his son's success – with the younger racer winning the 2020 F2 title and earning a seat in F1 with Haas.
April 2021 – Michael's wife Corrina reportedly puts their Lake Geneva home up for sale for £5million.
Bodyguards and domestic workers were staying at the home until recently with some horses having grazed the pastures only a few months ago.
The couple had bought the "Sur le Moulin" estate in 2002 when Michael was about to win his fifth F1 world title in 2002 for £3million.
August 2021 – F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone makes a promising comment that Michael could one day answer questions himself.
"He is not with us at the moment. But when he gets better, he’ll answer all the questions," he said.
September 2021 – Ahead of the release of 'SCHUMACHER', it was revealed that Michael had raised concerns about the snow conditions in the Alps before his tragic accident.
Breaking her solemn eight-year silence, his wife Corrina explained: "Shortly before it happened in Meribel, he said to me, 'The snow isn't optimal. We could fly to Dubai and go skydiving there.''
She said as he had "always made it through his races safely" she was "certain he had a few guardian angels that were keeping an eye out for him."
The 52-year-old said of his condition: "'Everybody misses Michael, but Michael is here – different, but here. He still shows me how strong he is every day."
January 2022 – Michael's son Mick marked his dad's 53rd birthday by paying tribute in an emotional social media post.
"Happy birthday, dad. Days like these were important to my growing passion for motorsport, and still affects it to this day," he wrote on Instagram.
"I am grateful for all the experiences you have given me and I’m excited to be making new ones in the future."
What has Michael Schumacher's family said?
Schumacher's family – his wife Corinna and their children Mick & Gina-Maria – have fiercely defended their privacy amid the intense interest over his health.
The family all live together at home to care for himand "do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he's comfortable."
Corinna continued: "It's very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible. Michael always protected us, now we are protecting Michael."
In November 2017, Gina-Maria posted an inspirational message urging his fans to keep their hope alive.
She wrote on Instagram: "There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved #keepfighting."
On August 9, 2018, Mick shared memories of his dad after snapping up his first victory in European Formula 3 at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium – his dad’s favourite track.
Speaking about his victory with Mobil 1 The Grid, the young racer said the track brought him many happy memories as it was often labelled “the living room of my dad”.
In 2018 a letter that wife Corinna sent to a German musician was revealed describing her husband as a "fighter".
Corinna said: "I would like to sincerely thank you for your message and nice gift that will help us through this difficult time.
“It is good to receive so many kind wishes and other well-intentioned words – which is a great support for our family.
"We all know Michael is a fighter and will not give up."
It was written as a reply to Hamburg bandleader Sascha Herchenbach who had sent the family a recording of a new song named Born To Fight.
He had composed the track in the months after the tragic accident.
Corrina has now said she has never blamed God for her husband's battle, saying it was "just really bad luck – all the bad luck anyone could ever have in their life."
Mick also faced further questions about his dad as he rose up the motorsport pyramid, winning the F2 title in 2020 and debuting in F1 in 2021.
Speaking before his first race with Haas in Bahrain, Mick told ESPN: "I had the best teacher and I'm happy to have made it all the way now. I'm happy to be here."
After following his father's footsteps, in the new documentary, the 22-year-old touchingly told how he would "give up everything" to chat with his dad about their shared motorsport success.
"Since the accident, of course, these experiences, these moments that I believe many people have with their parents, are no longer present or to a lesser extent. And in my view, that is a little unfair," he said.
"I think me and dad, we would understand each other in a different way now. Simply because we speak a similar language – the language of motor sport – and that we would have a lot more to talk about.
"And that is where my head is most of the time. Thinking that would be so cool … I would give up everything just for that."
Where is Michael Schumacher now?
Schumacher was skiing off piste in an area between Piste Chamois and Piste Mauduit in France when he fell and hit his head on a rock.
Even though he was wearing a helmet he suffered a horrendous head injury.
He was airlifted to hospital and put into a medically induced coma.
Doctors performed two operations on him to remove blood from his brain and relieve the pressure.
After being in hospital for a year he was taken back to his home in Lake Geneva in 2014 where he has remained ever since while undergoing further rehabilitation.
His wife Corinna explained in the Netflix interview: "We're together. We live together at home. We do therapy. We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he's comfortable.
"And to make him feel our family, our bond, And no matter, I will do everything I can. We all will."
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