Michael Schumacher remains in a “stable but critical condition” as he recovers from serious brain injuries he suffered in a skiing accident on Sunday, with no further update expected to come on Thursday.
Schumacher is fighting for his life in the Grenoble University Hospital with his family by his side, having undergone a second operation to reduce the swelling of his brain.
Doctors confirmed that following the operation, they had seen a “ slight improvement” in Schumacher’s condition, although he was by no means guaranteed survival and that he was being treated on an hour-by-hour basis.
Meanwhile, a French newspaper has reported that investigators trying to determine the cause of his accident want to speak to Schumacher’s media officer and manager Sabine Kehm after she gave her account of what had transpired, in which she claimed that speed was not a factor.
Kehm said that high speed was not responsible for the accident at the exclusive Méribel ski resort in the French Alps, and that Schumacher had stopped shortly before the crash to help a friend who had fallen over. She went on to claim that the 44-year-old then hit a rock which led to him being “catapulted in the air” before landing “apparently head down” onto another rock that split his helmet in two.
The Dauphiné Libéré spoke to prosecutor Patrick Quincy, who said: “Some rocks were visible and others weren’t. The only thing that we are sure of at this time is that Michael Schumacher lost his balance because of one of them before he fell.”
The latest update came on New Year’s Day, which said that he had stabilised but remained critical, and there is not thought to be another update on his condition before his 45th birthday on Friday.
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