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Formula 1: Mercedes issues statement on Schumacher accident

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The last team that seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher ever drove for issued a statement on Monday, December 30, about his skiing accident that has left him in a coma and in critical condition in a Grenoble hospital. The statement was released on the Mercedes AMG Petronas official website and Facebook page.

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The statement reads:

"Following the serious injuries sustained by Michael Schumacher in a skiing accident yesterday in France, the thoughts and sympathies of all at Mercedes-Benz Motorsport and the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team are with Michael, his family and friends.

We have been shocked to learn that he is in a critical condition and are closely monitoring the latest medical bulletins from Grenoble. We all know the depth of Michael's fighting spirit and send him all our strength and support in this latest battle.

We sincerely hope that he will make a full recovery and can be with us again soon."

Mercedes non-executive Chairman and three-time World Champion Niki Lauda commented in the "Guardian" on Monday that Schumacher "was the greatest driver of them all, with seven titles. Only the great Juan Manuel Fangio comes close to him, with five. He was the perfect racer, with speed, instinct and a great technical understanding." He said that Schumacher would not have taken undo risks on the slopes, especially in front of his son, who was skiing with him.

"I find it completely shocking and unexplainable why this great driver, who won seven championships in over 300 races and stayed alive, could have something like this happen to him. It's tragic," Lauda said.

After winning seven World Championships, two while driving for Benetton and five while with Ferrari, the racer joined the Mercedes team for a comeback after retirement in 2010. He raced three seasons before deciding to retire for a second time after the 2012 season.

The next year, Mercedes AMG Petronas finished second in the Constructors' World Championship with teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

The pair will continue with Mercedes for 2014.

Mr. Schumacher remains in critical condition from a head injury sustained when he fell at a ski resort in the French Alps and hit his head on a rock. Doctors are uncertain as yet about his prognosis.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1. With a historic racer from upstate New York, she is writing a book about racers and racing.

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