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FORMULA ONE

Manager blasts French Schumacher story

On the one-year anniversary of Formula One racing great Michael Schumacher's skiing accident in France, his manager is warning that reports on Schumacher's health in a French newspaper are false.

Manager blasts French Schumacher story
Formula One champion Michael Schumacher skiing. Photo: DPA
Sabine Kehm, Schumacher's manager, told Bild that there was no way the information in Le Parisien was credible. 
 
Former Formula One driver Philippe Streiff told the French daily on Sunday that the German seven-time racing champion was "communicating with this eyes" and that while he's recognizing his family again, he still has "big problems with his memory." 
 
He added that physically, Schumacher was working on sitting up on his own. 
 
Streiff cited his friendship with Schumacher's doctor, Gérard Saillant as the source of this information. He also said he had contact with Corinna Schumacher, Michael's wife of nearly 20 years.
 
"The statements of Philippe Streiff can only make me wonder. He definitely does not have contact with Professor Saillant and definitely not with Corinna." 
 
Streiff also called Schumacher "my friend", saying that he worked with the Schumachers in 2010 when they founded the Brain and Spine Institute in Paris (ICM), where he also works.
 
Furthermore, Streiff lives in Grenoble, where Schumacher was first hospitalised after a freak skiing accident put him into a six-month-long coma. 
 
"I was there," Streiff told Le Parisien. 
 
Michael Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm. Photo: DPA
 
This only provoked further ire for Schumacher's spokesperson. 
 
"There is absolutely no contact with the Schumacher family. There has never been a friendship between Mr Streiff and Michael," Kehm said. 
 
It's been one year since the German Formula One ace suffered severe head injuries while skiing with this family in the French Alps.
 
After being in a coma for half a year, Schumacher is "making progress appropriate to the severity of his situation, but it will be a difficult and long process," Kehm said in November in an interview with broadcaster RTL. 
 
Schumi, as he is known in Germany, has been recovering in his home in Gland, Switzerland.
 
His family say they were "confident and hoping for the best" for his recovery. 
 

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FORMULA ONE

F1 pays final respects to French driver Bianchi

Formula One turned out in force on Tuesday to pay its last respects to Jules Bianchi at the 25-year-old French driver's funeral in his hometown of Nice.

F1 pays final respects to French driver Bianchi
Photo: AFP

World champion Lewis Hamilton and many of Bianchi's pitlane colleagues joined family and friends of the talented young Marussia driver who died in Nice on Friday, nine months after his devastating accident at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Two giant portraits of Bianchi in full racing gear adorned the walls either side of the cathedral's main entrance.

His coffin, with his No 17 helmet resting on it, was carried from the hearse into the cathedral by a group of young drivers, described by Father Sylvain Brison as Bianchi's “racing brothers”.

With The Eagles' haunting 1970s anthem “Hotel California” playing in the background, the coffin was carried up the cathedral's central aisle.

Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who had made the short trip from their homes in Monaco, as well as Jean Todt, head of F1's governing body, the FIA, and the French Sports Minister Thierry Braillard, were in attendance for what Bianchi's parents had requested was to be an intimate farewell to their son.

“Jules' death is deeply unjust,” Father Brison told the mourners in the Sainte-Reparate Cathedral situated in Nice's historic old town.

“He was happy, because he had turned his dream into reality.”    

F1 “was his life, his vocation. He was a champion blessed with a rare talent, as well as being a young man whose stature was as high as the depth of his humility”.

He concluded the service by saying: “Jules never managed to make it on to the Formula One podium, and so I ask you to applaud him now,” which the emotional gathering, both inside and outside the cathedral, duly did for several minutes.

The service ended with the playing of the tender 1980s classic hit “Mistral Gagnant” by French singer Renaud.
 

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