Michael Schumacher’s close pal speaks out after seeing F1 legend – ‘How is he?’

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Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt has opened up on his recent visits to see seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher at his family home in Switzerland. But when it comes to providing an update on the Formula One legend’s current wellbeing that subject remains strictly off-limits.

Schumacher, 54, suffered a critical head injury following a skiing accident in the French Alps on December 29, 2013. Since then, the former Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes driver has been kept completely out of the public eye by his family with very few updates provided on his condition.

Only a selected group of friends and former colleagues have been able to visit the German champion in the 10 years that have followed but former Ferrari General Manager Todt is one of them and in a recent interview, the Frenchman has confirmed the closeness of the pair’s friendship.

Speaking to La Stampa, Todt, now 77, said: “Michael is a friend, I consider him part of my family. I go to see him regularly, in the past we have followed Grand Prix races on TV.

“But the question “how is he?” doesn’t find an answer, because maybe he doesn’t have one. It’s a private matter. The only thing I’ll say is that I adore Michael, I adore his family and it’s right to respect their privacy.”

Todt was responsible for bringing Schumacher to Ferrari in 1996 but found himself under pressure after a world championship did not materialise for another four years. But when Schumacher did eventually clinch his third world title, he went on to win another four in consecutive seasons, cementing his position as one of Formula One’s all-time greats.

Only Lewis Hamilton can match Schumacher’s record haul of seven world titles. Todt explained how his relationship with the German went from professional to personal over their time working together.

Todt said: “At first professional, then with ever greater trust, until it became a great friendship.

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“The situation was disastrous at the beginning. In ’96 there was a lot of talk about my dismissal. Michael had just arrived and saw that my plan was right, the people who were about to arrive and with whom I was dealing in secret corresponded to our plan. This is why he intervened and said: ‘If Todt leaves, I’ll leave too’.

“It certainly stopped those who thought they were sending me away.”

Describing Schumacher’s first world title with Ferrari in 2000, Todt added: The hug with Michael on the podium is the happiest sporting moment of my life. We have finally achieved the goal we set ourselves in 1993.”

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