Michael Schumacher is in “the best of hands” as he continus to recover from his horrific skiing accident, says ex-Ferrari boss Jean Todt - who revealed he has seen the German three times a week on some occasions.
The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has not been seen publicly since suffering a near-fatal brain injury while skiing in December 2013 in Meribel, France.
His wife Corinna has insisted on protecting Schumacher’s privacy in the eight-and-a-half years since, with his medical condition shrouded in secrecy as he continues to recover at home in Switzerland.
Todt, who has a close relationship with the Schumacher family, was asked this week about the Ferrari legend and thanked his fans for their continued support, adding that the 53-year-old is “surrounded by people who love him.”
“I’m happy that the fans, not only in Germany, think of him so much,” Todt told German outlet Bild. “People ask so much about Michael. The fans should know that he is in the best of hands. In the best situation he can be and surrounded by people who love him.
“As long as I am in this world, I will always visit him. Sometimes we see each other three times a week, sometimes not for a whole month.
“They are my friends and we are in constant contact. Whatever I can do for the Schumacher family, I’ll do it.”
Todt is a close friend of Schumacher’s since their time working together during a successful era at Ferrari, when the German won five of his seven world titles from 2000-2004.
The 76-year-old motorsport executive said as recently as July that he still watches F1 races with Schumacher - whose son Mick is in his second season in Formula 1 with Haas - despite the German’s unknown medical state.
“I don’t miss Michael, I see him,” Todt told German broadcaster RTL. “Yes, it’s true, I watch Grands Prix with Michael. But sure, I guess what I miss is what we used to do together.
“If it was emotional for you, you can imagine how emotional it was for me [collecting the award]. Emotional, but at the same time a great pride to be able to talk about Michael.
“You have people around you who are just special. And in a way, Michael is also very special. Corinna, Mick and Gina have also become special to me. They have all become family to me, to my wife and to my son.”
In a Netflix documentary which aired last year titled Schumacher, Corinna detailed how his family have dealt with the situation and continue to “get on with their lives.”
“Michael is here. Different, but he’s here, and that gives us strength, I find,” Corinna said.
“We’re together. We live together at home. We do therapy. We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he’s comfortable. And to simply make him feel our family, our bond. And no matter what, I will do everything I can. We all will.
“We’re trying to carry on as a family, the way Michael liked it and still does. And we are getting on with our lives. ‘Private is private’, as he always said.
“It’s very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible. Michael always protected us and now we are protecting Michael.”
Meanwhile, in July, Schumacher’s family were accused of telling “lies” about the F1 legend’s health, by the German’s former manager Willi Weber.
Weber, 80, claims he has not been allowed to see the 53-year-old and has been “kept out” the loop by Corinna.