Michael Schumacher, pictured here in 2006, was F1 world champion seven times
Michael Schumacher, pictured here in 2006, was F1 world champion seven times

The family of seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher has assured fans, shortly before Schumacher 50th birthday on Thursday, that the Ferrari legend is being in “the very best of hands”.

As the most successful Formula 1 driver, Schumacher retired from racing in 2012 and has not been seen in public since he suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps five years ago.

FIA president Jean Todt, long-standing Ferrari team manager and a close friend of Schumacher’s family congratulated Schumacher. “On his 50th birthday, loving thoughts of Michael Schumacher, the greatest Formula 1 champion in history, with unbroken records. Michael, you’ve always been and always will be a fighter.”

“We are doing everything humanly possible to help him,” Schumacher’s family said in a statement on New Year’s Day. “Please understand if we are following Michael’s wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy.”

Michael Schumacher made his first steps in racing in karting. He celebrated his first Formula 1 title at the age of 18, when he won the European Championship in 1987. Five years later, Schumacher celebrated his first victory in his second season at the Benetton racing team.

Schumacher won his first two World champion titles with Benetton in 1994 and 1995, before winning five titles in a row with Ferrari between 2000 and 2004, where he delivered the first world championship title to Ferrari since 1979.

In 2010 Schumacher made his Formula 1 comeback at the Mercedes racing team and took ninth place in the World Championship ranking at the end of the first season. In 2012 he retired from racing with a total of 91 grand prix wins.

As the only son of Michael Schumacher, 19-year-old Mick Schumacher became European Champion in Formula 3 last year and will start in the highest junior class Formula 2 next season. “I am glad to be compared with my father. He is my idol. He is the one to whom I look up,” Mick said.

For Schumacher’s 50th birthday, the family announced to release an official Michael Schumacher app, offering a virtual museum, enabling fans to review all of Schumacher’s career successes.

“The app is another milestone in our effort to do justice to him and you, his fans, by celebrating his accomplishments,” his family stated.

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