The family of Michael Schumacher have told fans that “he is a fighter and will not give up”, as they thanked them for their support.
In a statement on his webpage today, Shumacher’s family – which includes his wife Corinne, 44, two teenage children and his brother – expressed their gratitude to those who have sent their “good wishes”.
They said: “We all know: he is a fighter and will not give up!
“We are deeply moved that there is no let up in the good wishes for Michael from around the world. That gives us strength. Thank you all of you!”
The seven times F1 champion has been in an artificial coma for 23 days after hitting his head on a rock while skiing off-piste in the French Alps on December 29.
Fears are growing over his chances of making a full recovery.
Jean-Marc Orgogozo, Professor of Neurology at the University of Bordeaux, said: “Every day, every week in a coma the chances decline that the situation is improving.”
Experts say that there is a chance he could suffer from Apallic Syndrome, or persistent vegetative state, which has a recovery rate of less than 50 per cent.
This would mean that if doctors did bring him out of his artificially induced coma he would be unable to speak, move or feed himself.
Schumacher, 45, is at the University Hospital in Grenoble, where his condition remains stable.
Brain injury patients are placed into artificial comas to reduce the amount of oxygen that flows into the brain, thereby making it work less and giving it time to heal.
Such comas usually last for a maximum of two weeks, although there have been instances of patients being under longer.
Schumacher has now been in a coma for four weeks.
Investigators probing the reasons for the accident in which Schumacher smashed his head against a rock have ruled out faulty skis, inadequate signage and excessive speed.
The prosecutor in charge of the investigation said that Schmacher appeared to have hit a rock, lost his balance, and then fallen into another rock, hitting his head.