On January 3, 2014 as Michael Schumacher lay in coma in a hospital
in France, the world outside celebrated this birthday as the former F1 world
champion turned 45 years. Over 200 fans from Italian and French Scuderia
Ferrari Clubs converged on the Grenoble university hospital, while many others,
from Germany and Spain, responded to the call from Ferrari, to pay a special
tribute to Michael Schumacher on his forty fifth birthday.
They travelled for many hours by car and coach, six from northern
Italy, in a gesture of support for the family and those close to the German
driver, to show how much he means to the fans and to each and every one of them
goes the thanks of Ferrari.
The Ferrari Heart which was displayed in the hospital car park in
the French city was held up by the hands of those present but also
metaphorically by the strength of the millions of fans from around the world
who on January 3 are even closer than ever to Michael, as he fights the hardest
challenge of his life.
According to an earlier hospital
communication, Schumacher suffered a serious brain trauma with coma on his
arrival, which required an immediate neurosurgical operation. The hospital in
the southeast French city of Grenoble said in a statement that he was
immediately put in the care of physician Gérard Saillant, who is a brain and
spinal injury expert and a personal friend of Schumacher.
On December 29, 2013, Schumacher was skiing with
his son when he fell and hit his head on a rock, sustaining a head injury even
though he was wearing a helmet. Schumacher was skiing outside the marked pistes
at that time. A piste is a marked ski run
or path down a mountain for snow skiing, snowboarding, or other mountain sports. He was attended by two
ski patrollers and airlifted within fifteen minutes to a hospital in Moûtiers,
and then on to a hospital in Grenoble specialising in head injuries.
After winning consecutive championships
with Benetton in 1994/5, Schumacher moved to Ferrari in 1996 and won another
five consecutive drivers' titles with them from 2000 to 2004. Schumacher
retired from Formula One driving in 2006 staying with Ferrari as an advisor.
Schumacher later signed a three-year contract to drive for the new Mercedes
team starting in 2010. As part of the Mercedes team, he raced at the Buddh
International Circuit in Greater Noida during the F1 race.
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