Jean Todt, upon receiving an award on behalf of Michael Schumacher, has revealed he still watches races with the seven-time former World Champion.
An emotional ceremony took place on Wednesday in which former Ferrari CEO and FIA president Todt joined Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, and daughter, Gina, to collect the State Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia.
It is the highest civilian honour available to those born within the region and can be awarded to anyone who has made an outstanding contribution to the world.
The ceremony took place in Cologne, around six kilometres from Hurth, where Schumacher and his brother Ralf were born.
Schumacher’s son, Mick, did not attend because he was reportedly unwell but, a Formula 1 driver himself for the Haas team, his participation in the forthcoming French Grand Prix is said not to be under threat.
After giving a speech as the family were presented with the award, Todt, a close friend of Schumacher’s since their time working together during a golden spell at Ferrari, spoke to German television channel RTL.
An emotional Ceremony in Cologne to honour Michael @schumacher’s outstanding career & charitable streak with Corinna, Gina, @SchumacherMick & PM @HendrikWuest. I met Michael 30 yrs ago, with @ScuderiaFerrari, living his passion & bringing joy to millions of us! @keepfighting pic.twitter.com/GipU214VEf
— Jean Todt (@JeanTodt) July 20, 2022
Schumacher has not been seen or heard from publicly since a skiing accident in 2013 in which he suffered serious head injuries, and his condition has remained closely guarded ever since.
Todt had said previously that he sees Schumacher “at least twice a month”, adding: “I don’t leave him alone. Him, Corinna, the family, we’ve had so many experiences together. The beauty of what we have experienced is part of us and it goes on.”
Now the 76-year-old Frenchman has confirmed he watches races with Schumacher.
“I don’t miss Michael, I see him,” Todt told RTL. “Yes, it’s true, I watch races with Michael.
“But sure, I guess what I miss is what we used to do together.”
Speaking about collecting the award, Todt added: “If it was emotional for you, you can imagine how emotional it was for me. Emotional, but at the same time a great pride to be able to talk about Michael.”
Referring to his friendship with the Schumacher family, Todt added: “You have people around you who are just special. And in a way, Michael is also very special.
“Corinna, Mick and Gina have also become special to me. They have all become family to me, to my wife and to my son.”
Of Corinna specifically, he added: “She is steady, she is reliable, she is dedicated, she is humble. It’s in difficult times you see the real person.”
And of Schumacher himself: “Sometimes success and money changes you. But Michael has never changed. He’s so strong.”
Keep fighting, Michael.