Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident was a result of “extreme bad luck” and not because he was going too fast, his manager has claimed.
The seven-time Formula One world champion remained “stable” in hospital overnight, a day after he had a second operation on his brain.
Sabine Kehm, Schumacher’s manager, told reporters it was “good news” that there had been “no changes”, and said no further press conferences were expected to be given today.
Earlier, she said she had spoken to a number of people who were there when the former racing driver fell, and that she had been able to piece together a clearer picture of what had happened.
“Michael and the group had been skiing on normal slopes and then between a red slope and blue slope was a part with deep snow,” she said. “Michael went into that, but after everything that people told me, it was not even at high speed.”
It emerged in reports yesterday that the force of Schumacher’s crash was so great his ski helmet split in two. Ms Kehm said: “It seemed he had just helped a friend who had fallen and started to ski again, went into this deep snow and apparently - this is what we guess - hit a rock as he tried to do a turn and was catapulted in the air and landed head down on another rock.
“It was extreme bad luck and circumstances, and not because he was speeding too much. I have spoken with several people, including ski teachers, that tell me that can happen even at 10km/h. It was just very, very unfortunate.”
French doctors performed a successful operation to reduce bruising on Schumacher’s brain late on Monday night, resulting in a noticeable improvement in his condition.
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
That update came as it emerged that a reporter dressed as a priest had tried to get into the racing driver’s hospital room.
Doctors at the Grenoble University Hospital said that a “brief improvement” in the German driver’s condition had given them a “window of medical opportunity” to carry out a two-hour operation to remove a “haematoma” or serious bruise from within Mr Schumacher’s brain.
Medical experts then said that the next 48 hours would decide whether the retired German racing driver would survive or recover partially or completely. Professor Denis Safran of the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris said that it was notoriously difficult to predict the consequences of the kind of injuries, including internal brain lesions, suffered by Mr Schumacher.