A CAMERA that Michael Schumacher was wearing on his helmet when he was injured in a skiing accident has been handed to authorities, the Formula One champion’s manager said.
The 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.
Schumacher turned 45 on Friday, with his family saying they were “overwhelmed” by the support of fans who gathered at the Grenoble hospital to mark the occasion.
Sabine Kehm said in a statement that investigators had been given the camera by relatives, dismissing speculation this was against their wishes.
Some 200 people from Ferrari fan clubs based around Europe made the trip to the hospital, where a tribute was held in support of the seven-time Formula One world champion. The scores of well-wishers also held a one-minute silence on Friday afternoon.
Schumacher’s family expressed their sincere appreciation following Friday’s tributes, which were largely co-ordinated by Ferrari, with whom the German driver won five of his seven world titles.
“The incredible sympathies shown today by the Ferrari fans outside the hospital has utterly overwhelmed us and moved us all to tears,” Schumacher’s family said in a statement on his official website.
“We are deeply grateful for it and also for all the heartwarming and heartfelt wishes for Michael to get well soon, which have reached us from all over the world.”
Schumacher’s family – wife Corinna and their two children, father Rolf and brother Ralf – have maintained a presence at his bedside since the weekend.
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 F1 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 two with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before moving to Ferrari and winning five in a row from 2000. The German has 91 career wins.
Schumacher enjoys a special place in the hearts of Ferrari fans, having won the world drivers’ title for five successive years between 2000 and 2004 while driving for the Scuderia. Seventy-two of his record 91 grand prix wins also came at the wheel of Ferrari cars.
A Ferrari statement read: “At the moment, he is tackling the most important fight of his life and therefore we want to send him very special wishes.
“Everyone at Ferrari, from president Luca di Montezemolo and team principal Stefano Domenicali, who are in touch all the time with Michael’s family and those closest to him, are continuously watching how his situation evolves.”