A camera that Michael Schumacher was wearing on his helmet when he was seriously injured in a skiing accident has been handed to French authorities in the hope it will throw some light on what happened.
The former racing driver, who suffered a severe head injury while skiing off-piste in the resort of Meribel in France last Sunday, remains in an artificially induced coma.
He is in a critical but stable condition and it is believed his life was saved by his skiing helmet, which split on impact when he hit a rock. Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's manager, said yesterday that investigators had been given the camera by relatives, dismissing speculation the move was against their wishes.
"Michael's condition remains critical but stable," she said. "We would like to clearly stress that any information regarding Michael's health not coming from the doctors treating him or from his management must be treated as pure speculation. The family cares only for Michael's health.
"In addition, Michael's helmet camera was voluntarily given to the investigating authorities by the family. That this should have been done against the wishes of the family is untrue."
Kehm spoke after former Formula One driver Philippe Streiff, a friend of Schumacher, told German television he had been informed by the surgeon friend of the family, Gerard Saillant, who is at the Grenoble hospital, that the German's life was "out of danger".
Members of Schumacher's family, including his wife Corinna and children Gina-Maria, 16, and Mick, 14, are also at his bedside, arrived at the hospital yesterday to be by his side. Schumacher was initially conscious after the accident, which happened on a family holiday, but deteriorated into a critical condition. Neurosurgeons have operated twice to remove blood clots on his brain and reduce swelling.
Schumacher retired from Formula One for the final time in 2012 after a three-season comeback with Mercedes. Schumacher, who also raced for Jordan, Benetton and Ferrari, won the last of his world titles in 2004. He won with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before notching five championships in a row with Ferrari from 2000.
Schumacher turned 45 on Friday with his family saying they were "overwhelmed" by the support of fans who gathered at the hospital.
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 Ferrari team, for which he raced for during the majority of his F1 career, has provided 20 coaches to assist fans from Italy and France wanting to attend the vigil outside the hospital. In a message on their website, Ferrari said: "Forza Michael, he is tackling the most important fight of his life and therefore we want to send him very special wishes."
Boris Becker, the former Wimbledon champion paid tribute to Schumacher on Friday, tweeting: "Happy birthday, fight Schumi."
Fans at the vigil also spoke of their hopes for a full recovery. Stefano Pini, 47, an accountant who travelled from Milan to pay tribute, said: "Schumi has given us a lot in the past. The least we could do is to come here and support him and his family."
Gabriel Klose, a French fan who turned up with his 12-year-old son, said: "He is one of my greatest idols. We want him to fight and to return to us as soon as possible."