MICHAEL SCHUMACHER IN 2013: Going for No.1? But he wasn't the driver he used to be. Image: AFP
ROME, Italy - Michael Schumacher often cries when he hears the voices of his family members, according to a report in the Italian magazine Autosprint.
This week the F1 legend's manager and doctor hit back at claims by former driver Philippe Streiff, who declared that while Schumacher was unable to speak, he was "starting to recognise those close to him".
Official information has been rare during the whole year since the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver fell and hit his head on a rock while on a skiing holiday in late December 2013.
But as the authoritative Autosprint's editor-in-chief Alberto Sabbatini wrote, the health and future of one of the world's most-known sportsmen "is on everyone's mind".
The report said its information was collected "as objectively as possible" based on "reliable and verified information" from "those who know and have seen him recently and are aware of his clinical status".
Sabbatini concluded that Schumacher was making "a very slow recovery" but added: "The good news is that Michael is not stuck in a bed. When not undergoing physical therapy to avoid muscle atrophy he sits in a chair in front of the windows of his villa, overlooking on one side the snowy peaks of the Swiss alps and on the other Lake Geneva.
"Michael has his eyes open," he continued, "but he is often looking into the void. Recently he has been able to recognise the familiar faces of his family but he cannot communicate with them. He does not speak and he is not able to perform movements independently.
"He reacts to external stimuli but for now can only answer a familiar voice by moving his eyes.
"In a wonderful article in the Corriere della Sera on Giorgio Terruzzi said that sometimes a tear would roll down Michael's face. He cries when he hears the voice of his children or Corinna - it shows that he feels emotion, that his brain works.
"It is the only way his strong character is able to externally convey an emotion. It is a sign that he is alive and understands, even if for now he is the prisoner of an immobile body."