Michael Schumacher still faces a long road to recovery as reports emerged on his 46th birthday that he is beginning to recognise his family.
The family of the seven-time Formula One champion have released little information on Mr Schumacher’s recovery since his accident while skiing in the French resort of Meribel in December 2013.
Unverified reports published by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera claim that “sometimes a tear rolls down Michael’s face. He cries when he hears the voice of his children or Corinna [his wife]”.
The Italian editor of Autospirit Alberto Sabbatini has also commented on Mr Schumacher, describing “a long and difficult” recovery – and insisting his information on the racing driver’s condition is based on “reliable and verified information” from “those who know and have seen him recently and are aware of his clinical status”.
Mr Sabbatini commented that the latest information appeared to show “that he feels emotion,” adding Corriere della Sera’s claims indicate “that his brain works.”
Career in Pictures: Michael Schumacher
Career in Pictures: Michael Schumacher
1/17 February 2006
Michael Schumacher is seen in the pits during a training session at the Ricardo Tormo racetrack in Cheste near Valencia in 2006
2/17 November 1994
Hugging two team mechanics in delight for becoming World Champion Driver after the Australian Grand Prix at the Adelaide circuit in November 1994
3/17 October 1995
Flavio Briatore carries a jubilant Michael after he wins the Pacific F1 Grand Prix at Aida in Japan, and wins his second World Drivers Championshp
4/17 February 1996
Schmacher pushes his Ferrari back to the pits after engine trouble left him stranded at the entrance of the pitlane during pre-season testing at Estoril, Portugal
5/17 March 1996
During the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne
6/17 March 1997
Michael Schumacher in the pit lane during the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia
7/17 October 2000
Celebrating on the podium after winning the formula one world championship at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, Japan
8/17 July 2006
Michael Schumacher of Germany and Ferrari leads the pack into the first corner at the start of the French Formula One Grand Prix at the Nevers Magny-Cours Circuit
Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images
9/17 October 2010
Michael Schumacher drives during the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit
Clive Mason/Getty Images
10/17 October 2011
Michael Schumacher and Mercedes GP waves to the crowd as he attends the drivers parade before the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit on October 30, 2011 in Noida, India
11/17 December 2011
Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher celebrate after winning the Nations Cup at day one of the race of champions event at the Esprit Arena
12/17 June 2012
Michael Schumacher drives at the Valencia Street Circuit on June 22, 2012 in Valencia during the first practice race of the European Formula One Grand Prix
13/17 September 2012
Michael Schumacher crashes into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne of France and Scuderia Toro Rosso during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix in September 2012
14/17 November 2012
Schumacher drives in his last race during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
15/17 December 2013
Deputy director Jean Marc Grenier talks to media outside the CHU Nord hospital in Grenoble, French Alps
16/17 December 2013
Members of the staff are seen outside the emergency services at the CHU Nord hospital in Grenoble, French Alps; this is the hospital where retired seven-times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is reported to be hospitalized after a ski accident
17/17 December 2013
A Scuderia Ferrari and Michael Schumacher fan waits, on December 29, in Grenoble, in front of the emergency department of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire hospital
The Italian editor also alleged that this “is a sign that he is alive and understands, even if for now he is the prisoner of an immobile body,” according to remarks quoted in The Times.
Nonetheless, only last week surgeon Gérard Saillant - who treated Mr Schumacher after his accident – denied claims that he was beginning to recognise his family and close friends.
Mr Schumacher suffered serious head injuries when he hit a rock while he was skiing off piste in December 2013. The impact of the crash smashed his helmet and he remained in a coma for six months.
In July Schumacher's wife Corinna released a statement to his fans, thanking them for their support. "I have to say your sympathies blew us all away.
“It is good to know that together we made it through the hardest time.
“Now we are facing a phase which will presumably take a long time.”Reuse content