Formula 1 legend, Michael Schumacher played a major role in the success enjoyed today by the Mercedes team.
That is the view of Ross Brawn, a long-time close friend and colleague of the beleaguered seven time world champion.
As Mercedes returned to full works status in F1 between 2010 and 2012, Brawn and Schumacher worked together as boss and driver at the silver clad team.
Earlier, they had rewritten the F1 record books at Ferrari.
Referring to the Mercedes era, however, Brawn said: “We no longer had the success of earlier years, but his dedication was the same.
“Winning was still a part of his DNA,” the Briton said in a documentary by the German broadcaster ARD, marking the two-year anniversary of Schumacher’s skiing accident, entitled ‘Zwei Jahre Danach’ (two years later).
Brawn said: “No one should underestimate how much Michael did for the success that the Mercedes team now enjoys.”
Brawn said he looks back on Schumacher’s career and concludes that he is undoubtedly one of the greatest drivers to have ever raced in formula one.
“He won races that we should not really have won,” he said of the Ferrari era, “and in my opinion, Michael did that more often than anybody else has.”
Now, Brawn is reportedly one of the very few people who have been allowed to visit Schumacher since the skiing accident.
Brawn defended the family’s decision to fiercely guard the almost 47-year-old’s privacy on the basis that Schumacher was always a private person.
“One Michael Schumacher was for the public and the media, and the other Michael was the private man,” he said. “They are two completely different people.”
However, it means the public has been left almost completely in the dark about Schumacher’s actual health condition today.
As 2015 draws to an end, Italian F1 insider Leo Turrini claims in Il Giornale newspaper that Schumacher is “technically awake, which means his eyes are open”.
“However, he does not seem to recognise the environment around him or the few people who have the right to meet with him,” he said.
“He does not react when F1 is on the television.”
Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting similarly, claiming unofficially that Schumacher “does not communicate in any way”.
“He weighs more than the 45-48kg that someone claimed, but is unable to move,” the sports daily added.
Schumacher’s family and closest friends like Brawn, however, are not giving up.
“Michael is on a path that few people have trodden before him,” said Brawn, referring to Schumacher’s current predicament.
“He is someone who has surprised us so many times before.”