FIA President Jean Todt has been giving some cautious insights into the condition of seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher, eight years after he suffered major head injuries in a skiing accident.
Just over a year after retiring from his final role in the sport driving for Mercedes, Schumacher suffered a fall and hit his head while out skiing in the French Alps with his then-teenage son Mick, who now drives for Haas F1.
The family have decided against revealing details of the 52-year-old's current medical status. But Todt - former team principal at Ferrari with whom Schumacher won five of his titles - is a close friend of the family and a frequent visitor to their home in Switzerland.
"I've spent a lot of time with Corinna since Michael had his serious skiing accident," he said, referring to the former driver's wife. "She is a great woman and runs the family.
"She hadn't expected that. It happened suddenly and she had no choice, but she does it very well," he continued. "I trust her, she trusts me.
"Thanks to the work of his doctors and the cooperation of Corinna, who wanted him to survive, he survived," he told Germany's Sport Bild newspaper this week.
"But with consequences," he added. "Right now you are fighting the consequences. We hope that things will slowly but surely improve."
The family last released an official update on his 50th birthday in 2019, assuring his millions of fans they are doing "everything humanly possible" to help him recover.
Todt admitted that his long-standing link with the Schumacher family meant that he felt a special bond with Michael's son Mick now that he is a full presence in the F1 paddock in his own right, but said that the two were very different men.
"Mick is one of those people who always have a special place in my heart and that of my wife Michelle Yeoh," Todt acknowledged. "The Schumacher family is very special to us.
"I wrote a great story with Michael [at Ferrari in the 2000s] and built a wonderful relationship, and then the children were there.
"Of course Michael and Mick are of the same blood and have the same goals, but the conditions were completely different," he said.
"He found the strength for this task and the balance to recharge at home, with his family, whom he loves utterly.
A documentary on the life and career of Michael Schumacher is set to be released next month on Netflix in the United States featuring interviews with Corinna and Mick as well as daughter Gina and brother Ralf, himself a former F1 driver.
"I will be part of it, I was interviewed for it, yes," Mick told FormulaRapida.net. "It’s a very special documentary and I think it’s going to be emotional for everyone who watches it."
Although it's billed as "the only film supported by his family", it's not thought to contain any new details on his medical condition since the accident in December 2013.
Lewis Hamilton tied Schumacher's all-time record of F1 titles by winning last year's championship, and could take it outright if it comes out top again in 2021.