Todt “hoping” Schumacher can lead normal life

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In the round-up: FIA president Jean Todt says he is hoping Michael Schumacher will recover sufficiently from his ski accident injuries that he is able to live a normal life accident.


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Jean Todt says Michael Schumacher is ‘fighting’ in recovery (The Guardian)

When asked if Schumacher would be able to live a normal life again Todt said “we have to hope for that”.

Update: This article has been heavily revised and the round-up headline has been changed accordingly.

Crash ‘bad luck, not bad judgment’ (The Telegraph)

“‘Officials raised ‘double yellow flags’ after the accident by Sutil, which means drivers had to slow down to the speed that they can immediately stop, but unfortunately Bianchi’s car aquaplaned right at the time and ran into the accident site, which was bad luck,’ Suzuka Circuit spokesman Masamichi Miyazaki said.”

F1 deemed closed cockpit idea ‘ugly’ (Autosport)

“The teams agreed that F1 was about open-cockpit racing and the roll hoop solution – which Whiting said was the only closed cockpit concept that the FIA believed could work – was not an avenue that they wanted grand prix racing to go down.”

GPDA: No ‘knee-jerk’ reactions (ESPN)

“Most certainly, I recommend to all the drivers to refrain from a public discussion. Any such discussions and the pursuit of solutions shall be done in a closed circle to ensure respect and privacy for Jules’s family, but equally to ensure this analytical process can be done in its best way.”

Diffuse axonal injury (Former F1 Doc)

“When the scan shows essentially generalised swelling with no significant focal neurosurgical lesions (i.e., bruises and hematomas), we talk about diffuse axonal injury, or DAI. We hate when this happens.”

Sunday in Suzuka… (The Buxton Blog)

“A small group at the back of the media centre rounded on Bonciani demanding Race Director Charlie Whiting give a press conference. There were questions that needed answering, they jabbed.”


Comment of the day

Azerbaijan will host the European Grand Prix from 2016. Yes, you read that right.

Well, they used to hold the Swiss Grand Prix in France, so having the European Grand Prix in Asia shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Rob Tsintas!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

And happy 60th birthday to Huub Rothengatter. The Dutch driver entered F1 with Spirit in 1984 but bowed out two years later after driving for Osella and Zakspeed but never managing to trouble the scorers. However he played an influential role in the career of one of his successors, Jos Verstappen.

Image © Mercedes/Hoch Zwei

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62 comments on “Todt “hoping” Schumacher can lead normal life”

  1. I’m glad there’s some good news going around at the moment. Let’s keep hoping and praying for some on Bianchi now :)

    1. I have done a human translation of everything on the RTL France page which is the source of the Michael Schumacher information.


      RTL France Article

      TITLE: “Michael Schumacher is fighting” says Jean Todt

      Michael Schumacher, ski accident victim in December 2013, is now being cared for at his home. “Over the weeks and months that have passed, he has made progress given the seriousness of the injury, but a long and hard path remains ahead of him” underlined the family spokesperson last September.

      Jean Todt, ex-rally driver and current FiA president, saw the ex F1 driver in his home “at the beginning of the week with his family.” “He is fighting” he said to RTL’s microphones. “It was a tragic accident that could happen to anyone. He fell badly on a rock whilst skiing in a normal manner”, he added.

      “We can hope that things get better”, Jean Todt confided, who explained that “Michael Schumacher’s family is close to him”. The ex-rally driver believes that “he needs time and to be left in peace”.


      RTL France Audio

      Marie Drucker (MD) – Interviewer
      Jean Todt – FiA President

      MD – You have directed Ferrari. I know that you do not like to talk about the subject but you are very close with Michael Schumacher and his family. We remember that the past 29th December, he was a victim in a ski accident: coma, critical situation, life threatening. He left the hospital in June, before going to Lausanne and since the beginning of September, he is at his home. You can confirm, Michael Schumacher is at home?

      JT – He is at home. I saw him at the beginning of the week with his family. He is fighting. Effectively, it’s a tragic accident that could happen to anyone since he fell down. He fell badly on a rock whilst skiing in an absolutely normal manner.

      MD – How is he right now? What is his state of health?

      JT – Right now, he is fighting, he is fighting. We can hope that things get better…

      MD – Has he regained the usage of his legs, the ability to speak, for example?

      JT – (mumbles) No. (recomposes himself) I don’t want to go into too much detail because it’s something which is very personal. I believe that what is important is that he is living, that his family is close to him, that we really believe that things will improve. He needs time and then to be left in peace.

      MD – I am going to ask you the question differently: One day, will he be able to lead an absolutely normal life again?

      JT – He will probably no longer be able to drive in Formula One. Voilà, that’s what we can say…

      MD – …but the rest? You can still lead a life without driving in Formula One.

      JT – We have to hope for that.

      MD – Thank you, Jean Todt, for your answers.

      1. (Sorry for responding to myself but I wanted to separate the translation from my own personal opinion)

        The article from the Guardian is false, badly reported and highly misleading. Especially the quote of Jean Todt:

        “We must assume that Schumacher can lead a relatively normal life again within a short period of time”.

        The phrase “normal life” was introduced by the interviewer and at no point did Jean Todt confirm this (see translation above). Furthermore, no one mentioned “short period of time” at all in the interview.

        You would think that when it came to someone’s life, there would be a modicum of decency in the journalism, but nowadays even that is too much to ask for. I am sorry if the English article has raised your hope but it is not based on anything at all concrete.

        1. Well done, here’s the link with the radio interview in French:
          As you say, those words were wrongly attributed to Todt in the English (Guardian) version, extremely poor journalism.

        2. Thanks for the translate @kodongo, I had wanted to react and mention that the Guardian article is quite misleading from comparison to the source (read up about it yesterdsay evening), so its good that you helped get people a clear view of what exactly was said.

          As for Schumacher – good luck Champ, keep fighting, its worth it.

        3. @kodongo, thank you, how despicable the modern press has become, ” Another F1 injury, can we link it to something about Schumacher ?”

        4. ColdFly F1 (@)
          8th October 2014, 8:18

          thanks @kodongo, unfortunately not as positive as the Guardian article.

          It shows again (as for the JB accident) to always go to the original source and stop speculating and adding false facts.

        5. That makes sense. Unfortunately this is close to the truth. Never the less, let’s all just hope for the best for Michael and Jules.

      2. @kodongo Thanks for pointing this out. The article cited above has now been revised and so the round-up text has been edited accordingly.

        Note that some other publications are still reporting the previous version of the translation at the moment, such as here.

        1. It’s amazing how the Guardian revision quotes the translation above verbatim, even down to the “Voilà” and it’s embarrassing that a national newspaper can be so amateurish.

          1. Thanks @kodongo. Amateurish is the right word.

      3. I also retweeted these news yesterday because the quotes were published by what I consider to be serious media outlets. I guess it just once again reminds us not to trust republished / translated sources of information.

  2. After all the terrible news we’ve had over the past few days as F1 fans concerning Jules Bianchi, it’s good to see something positive being said about Michael Schumacher’s condition. Things looked bleak for him, but hopefully the day will soon come where he can enjoy life in good health and sound mind with his family. I dearly hope to be able the same about Jules in the weeks and months ahead.

    1. As sad as it is to say, for some injuries and accidents, survival is not actually the preferred option. I fear Jules and Schumi will never be the same again, but continue to hope for miracles for their sake. :(

  3. A great piece from Buxton, well worth a read.

    1. yep, was a good read

    2. Hit the nail on the head! While we all thirst for information on the situation, respect has to be shown. I can only hope that the statement made by Todt holds some relevance as the Schumacher family has experienced enough invasion of their own. Best Wishes to both families in these hard times.

  4. I really don’t know what was being said in that original interview, but I heard it was mistranslated and maybe the “relatively normal life” part isn’t true. Look at the replies to this tweet:

    1. The Guardian article directly quotes him, but is pretty light on detail. Hopefully this isn’t another case of shoddy journalism and Todt actually said he’s recovering.

      1. I was just about to post about how incredibly happy I am for that. Now I can only hope that it was translated correctly.

      2. @colossa-squid The Guardian article says what was being said to RTL, but what if their translation is wrong and the ones under the tweet I linked are correct? The link is there in Dimi’s tweet, if there’s a French-speaker here I’d be happy if he/she could confirm which is right, I think @keithcollantine should look out for it as well.
        (I also found a similar article on other English speaking sites and I don’t know whose was first, but it looks like that one was the source for the other sites)

        1. @hunocsi I understand that the quotes were taken from an interview with RTL, it’s just that you’d like to think the Guardian being a supposedly reputable news source would have reviewed or verified Todt’s words before they published them to avoid this sort of thing!

          Hopefully he hasn’t been mis-quoted as the replies to the tweet you helpfully linked are not nearly as optimistic!

          1. I posted an exact translation above of everything that was said by Jean Todt in the RTL article.

          2. @kodongo Thank you very much for doing that. To be honest I’m gutted. I thought Todt was being a lot more positive than in reality. That Guardian article is entirely misleading. Thanks again for the translation.

    2. The question was: “Do you think that Michael can live a normal life in the future? ”
      Todt answered that question with this: “we have to hope for that”
      Sorry but the quote was not as positive as was reported on many websites.

  5. I can’t believe its been 9 months already, it will amazing to see Michael Schumacher again when the time comes. I still can’t comprehend Bianchi’s accident, its like a bad dream.

  6. Huub Rothengatter did far more harm to Jos Verstappen’s career than good.

    Over & over again Huub would alter the terms of deals been done to try & get more money for himself & more than once this tactic cost Jos a decent drive.
    Even after Jos’s F1 career Huub was still pulling the same crap as Jos diod a test for Champcar owner Dale Coyne in 2004 or 2005 & impressed enough that Dale offered Jos the seat on the spot & he & Jos agreed terms. Huub got word of it, Contacted Coyne & behind Jos’ back changed the terms of the deal to which Coyne was unable to pay so Jos suddenly found himself with the drive.

    It was a shame as it got Jos a pretty bad reputation & undoubtedly hurt his career, Why he remained so loyal to Huub nobody ever quite got.

    1. @gt-racer Interesting.. what deals in F1 were scuppered? It would be interesting to know what cars Jos could have driven, if circumstances didn’t change like so described.

      1. Going from memory I believe there were deals with Jordan, Arrows, Benetton & Minardi in F1 as well as 2-3 deals in Champcar & he also lost his A1GP drive.

    2. I don’t recall any details, but from the time I remember there were several times Jos was on the brink of a new deal and then they fell through over money matters. I would agree that Huub didn’t do much good in that respect.

  7. That explanation in the Telegraph could only have been written by someone who did not watch the race, even if they are correctly quoteing the official they should have the sense to verify the difference between “at the same time” and 1 lap later, beyond shoddy.

    1. Also the fact that the articlt states the race was moved back 2 hours, which of course is not true at all

  8. I hope with every fibre that Jules will make a full recovery and will be back next year but I realistically can’t see that happening. I’m no doctor but 110mph into a multiple ton machine is just horrific. The crash video showed how it actually lifted the back end of the JCB a good foot in the air.

    This just feels so much more tragic than Schumacher’s accident. Schumacher’s had lived his life and dreams, won the world championship and spent his career with top teams. Bianchi still had all that ahead of him. You could see he was an up and coming talent and would probably be driving for ferrari in 2016. Right now though, this could be his Kubica moment. I really hope it isn’t though.

  9. On a different note, is there any articles about the freight to Sochi after the typhoon? All the concern before the race and seems like they’ve done ok.

    1. Only think I saw is that tweet showing a picture of stuff arriving at the track in Sochi, so I would think everything went fine enough @stretch

      1. Ok thanks @bascb, I guess its like all the other times, with a little more added pressure.

  10. Cannot believe the story about the closed cockpits looking shockingly ugly – as opposed to the phallic noses of 2014? If a total re-write of the rules was done at the same time as introducing the closed cockpits then the rulemakers could try and sort out regulations so the cars looked good with closed cockpits. The X2010/2014 from GT6, the Caparo T1 road car, and Gordon Murray’s turbine powered concept from Motorsport magazine in either December 1999 or January 2000 all show closed cockpit single seaters (yes I know the T1 isn’t technically a single seater but its close enough) can look good. They just need to get rid of high noses and allow for wheel fairings as well.

    Changes such as these may not have prevented the Bianchi accident but they may have helped – we still don’t know. What they would do is improve the drag levels on cars, making F1 more road-car relevant (tricks used to lower drag with closed cockpits and wheel fairings you would think would be easier to implement on road cars than aero tricks, mainly to gain downforce, on open wheel open cockpit cars, at least I think so).

    So while I agree that cockpit options shown on current shape cars looked bad, change the overall car shape and closed cockpits look great, as well as being safer for drivers. Just use your imagination F1! If Newey can make a closed cockpit car look good then why can’t the rest of you?

    1. if closed cockpits get suggested because of this it is F1 sticking its head in the sand again and missing the obvious issue…. Which is sort out race control and marshalling!!! Everything else has moved on brilliantly in last 20+ years this has not.

      They should paid pros. This means they can be judged on their performance good & bad. It means they can marshal lower levels of racing which will greatly benefit the safety of these races which is largely well below F1. It also means they have a bit of power, they are going into stupidly dangerous situations because race control is telling them to (or not stopping them). They need supervisors to say ‘no guys don’t go out there until its safe’ the problem is even worse in motorcycle racing where they all run to a scene like lemmings without any thought of the next bikes coming.

      The worse thing about this isn’t with all due respect jules horrific injuries its how close the marshals come to being hit(again). I been banging this drum for years and its a obvious one that could be solved with FIA/FIM spending a bit of money in each country that there is a race. The knock on effect in motorsport would be fantastic at all levels.

      1. TOTALY AGREE and about time too.

    2. @clay Agreed, if I did not have a heart attack after seeing the new Toro Rosso in January, I am sure I would be able to handle closed cockpits, too.

    3. I think that they need to get the facts about the accident before deciding whether cockpit covers are needed. At the moment I am considering this is just a knee jerk reaction, mainly by Williams at this point in time, before the facts are known.

      Diffuse axonal injury can be caused by just stopping so suddenly without the head hitting anything. It is same damaged caused to babies when shaken violently, where the brain is bounced around inside the skull.

  11. I wrote about it yesterday, and i will repeat it here. Gary Hartstein does have a point with drivers all striving to slow down as little as they can under flags, including waved yellows.

    On AmuS, I read that Hulkenberg mentioned he lost about a second in that sector during the race to be extra carefull though (they mainly asked him about the flags and whether seeing green might have led Bianchi to speed up again – he said the lights were clear, and no, the green wouldn’t even have been visible to Bianchi before he lost control), showing it IS possible.
    So I would say that there lies a job for Wurz to work on getting more awareness into drivers that NO, 0,3 seconds slowing down is not enough and you really need to go slow enough to be able to stop if needed. Technical solutions, like slow zones, using pitlane limiter, etc. might be a solution, but without further looking into, it would be wrong to take such steps immediately, without thinking it over from all angles.

  12. What’s next? An Antarctic Grand Prix in Argetina?

    1. @wsrgo Azerbaijan is certainly not the best place to hold a European Grand Prix, not least because its politics and human rights record are not exactly representative of European values today. The country also has not the motorsport heritage that Spain, Germany or the UK had when they were hosting the race.

      At the same time, you can say that Azerbaijan is a European country. It belongs to the Council of Europe and the UEFA, it participates in the Eurovision Song Contest and has other ties with Europe. Wikipedia describes it as a transcontinental country. So while calling the new race the European GP is a bit perverse, I think it is technically correct.

      1. Israel is a member of EUFA and competes in Eurovision, that doesn’t make it a European country and the same is true of Azerbaijan.

        1. Israel is clearly in Western Asia and no one considers it to be a European country but opinions differ on Azerbaijan. Wikipedia says it is “at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia” and the country is indeed often associated with Eastern Europe e.g. also places it under “Europe”.

    2. Sssshh, that’s meant to be top secret.
      Bernie’s invited Jeremy Clarkson to wave the chequered flag.

    3. Baku is not in Europe, but a part of Northern Azerbaijan is commonly regarded as being located in geographic Europe.

  13. Ummm, @keithcollantine, Hinch has joined Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

    1. As a replacement for Simon Pagenaud in the 77 car for next season

  14. While I totally agree that knee-jerk reactions should be avoided and that the terrible accident should be thoroughly analysed before making any changes to safety procedures, I also believe that it is very important to make sure that the accident is not written off as “just a freak accident” that happened because “motorsport is dangerous” and that nobody could have done anything to aviod it. We have to demand answers from the teams, the race organisers and particularly from the FIA.

    Let us not forget that earlier this year Charlie Whiting saw nothing wrong about putting marshals’ lives at risk in the German Grand Prix and called the people, who were worried about the safety aspect of standing restarts “silly”. The FIA did not think that Raikkonen rejoined the track in an unsafe manner in the British GP. Niki Lauda said that the barrier repair in the same race was a waste of time. There is something seriously wrong about the attitude of all those people and we must not let them get away with it this time.

    1. @girts While I do agree that safety must be taken seriously, of course, I must say it is unfair of you to make it sound like Whiting, FIA, and Lauda are cavalier about it and have something seriously wrong with their attitude about it.

      Do you actually know if Whiting decided that marshals lives were at more risk than usual in Germany, and didn’t care? And if he called people ‘silly’ about the safety aspects of standing restarts, was it perhaps because they weren’t grasping when and how he would implement them and were making knee-jerk reactions to the concept? Is it a fact that standing restarts were going to be any more dangerous than the start of a race? Or just opinion and speculation. And I believe it was determined by the FIA/stewards that all drivers would have rejoined the track the way KR did. The problem was the height of the curbing. And Lauda’s only point was that the odds of a second car hitting that barrier at that same spot were so slim it did not warrant the one-hour stoppage. And the fact is they, as is almost 100% of the time the case, retrieved the car in Germany without a marshal being hurt, they aren’t doing standing restarts, and they did take an hour to repair the Armco in spite of Lauda’s opinion which was not going to matter to them no matter what his opinion was.

      When you talk of not letting them get away with it this time, that makes it sound like there have been massive ongoing lawsuits that their high-powered lawyers keep defeating, such is their delinquent and continued dangerous attitude toward safety, and we know that simply isn’t the case.

      I think you are conveniently adding things up to vilify all of F1, and in reality there is no sense as far as I can see, that they don’t care about safety. And the outcry at the mere addition of pavement taking the risk away from a famous corner shows that many fans understand this is a risky business and there is a balance between that, which is what makes it exciting and enthralling, and the opposite being making it so homogenous and bland that one gets the sense F1 drivers are doing nothing special. It’s a difficult balance the likes of Whiting has to achieve, and I’m as sure that it isn’t easy as I am sure that he et al are not cavalier about it.

      1. @Robbie I am certainly not trying to vilify all of F1 and I agree that Whiting and the FIA have done a lot of things right but that does not mean that they are not responsible for those things that they have got wrong ie. the “holes” that they have ignored. If I do 95% of my job perfectly but the rest 5% causes serious damage to my employer, then he will still not be happy, to put it mildly. And here we are talking about serious injuries and potential deaths.

        As for possible explanations to the FIA’s words and actions, it is their job to explain them, not my job to find all the possible excuses for anything that seems wrong to me.

        1. @girts “There is something seriously wrong about the attitude of all those people…” got my back up. I’m sure they, as you, are trying to do their job perfectly 100% of the time but we are also all human and none of us has a crystal ball to foresee every little aspect that can arise. It may not be your job to find all the possible ‘excuses’ as you say (some would say reasons) nor is it your job to cavalierly claim negligence toward ‘all those people’ like you were reading from a facts sheet.

          Rant over, and to be fair, I enjoy over 95% of your posts.

          1. But 5% of them make my head explode. completed for you @robbie.

          2. @Robbie Thank you for the thoughtful responses.

          3. @hohum Then do not read any of my posts, no one is going to get hurt because of that.

  15. ColdFly F1 (@)
    8th October 2014, 8:40

    The accident should be independently investigated (thus not by FIA), and calling it a ‘bad luck’ or ‘a freak accident’ by people related to organisers and FIA does not help.

    It is easy to say that a recovery truck should not have been there. But it appears from the video that the truck probably saved the life of the marshal behind it!

    And why does double waved yellow not result in cars slowing down to be able to stop immediately?

  16. Pleased to hear of Wurz’s appointment – it could give the drivers some teeth and the sense to make things happen, rather than moaning after the event that nobody asked them.
    But it’s unfortunate that at their first gathering after Bianchi’s accident, just when they need a bit of leadership, their new chairman’s away blasting around Fuji in his Toyota.

  17. There needs to be a stricter enforcement of the double waved yellow areas. For years drivers haven’t seemed to be slowing down enough and being “prepared to stop” and I feel that is partly to blame for the accident. How many drivers going past there could have realistically stopped in a reasonable amount of time? Probably none.

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