Formula One Drivers Unite To Wish Michael Schumacher Well After Skiing Accident
F1's top medic "rushed to the bedside" of MICHAEL SCHUMACHER on Sunday "as the sport’s most successful driver was reported to be fighting for his life after a skiing accident," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. Key figures in the sport, including F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE and English motorsport engineer ROSS BRAWN, the man who guided Schumacher to his seven world titles, "were waiting anxiously for news from the hospital in Grenoble where the German was lying in a coma." Schumacher, 44, "was said to be in a critical condition after hitting his head on a rock while on a ski trip" on Monday at the French resort of Meribel. Professor GÉRARD SAILLANT, who operated on Schumacher when he broke a leg at the 1999 British Grand Prix, "was called to Grenoble immediately." However, this will be a test of Saillant's emotions as well as his abilities: Saillant is the founder of the Institute of Brain and Spinal Cord (ICM) and "is now faced with aiding the recuperation of one of the most important characters in the history of Formula One." Schumacher's image as the most divisive driver of his generation "was cast aside last night as his fellow drivers expressed their concern for the most dominant figure of their age." Ecclestone "asked for updates to be sent from the hospital." BBC analyst EDDIE JORDAN, the man who gave Schumacher his debut in F1, said that "he hoped the former driver’s courage and mental strength would be an advantage." Jordan: "He's a bit of a daredevil, let's be clear" (LONDON TIMES, 12/30).
WORLDWIDE REACTION: The PA reported F1 drivers from around the world have wished Schumacher a full recovery. FELIPE MASSA, the Brazilian driver whose injury brought Schumacher back to F1 in '09, posted a picture of the pair embracing on Instagram, with the Portuguese message, "I'm praying for God to protect you, brother!" In English he wrote, "I hope you have a quick recovery! God bless you, Michael!" ROMAIN GROSJEAN, who finished second to Schumacher in the 2012 Nations' Cup, tweeted, "All our thoughts to Schumi and his family." HEIKKI KOVALAINEN, who tussled with him on the track in '04 and '07, wished him a "full recovery soon." Both gave him the hashtag "#legend." Stars from other sports "also added their well wishes." The retired cricketer MICHAEL VAUGHAN said, "Forget the cricket. Everyone's thoughts should be with Michael Schumacher." Golfer IAN POULTER wrote, "Really hoping Michael Schumacher comes thru his terrible skiing accident. Wishing him well" (PA, 12/29).