Media Friend Calls 7-Time F1 Champion Michael Schumacher Condition a 'Case Without Hope'

f1 grand prix of brazil practice
Friend: Michael Schumacher 'a Case Without Hope'Mark Thompson - Getty Images

Ever since he suffered devastating head injuries in a skiing accident while on vacation nearly 10 years ago (December 29, 2013), seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher’s condition has been guarded by his family and kept from the outside world.

While so little official information on Schumacher’s condition has come out of the family compound in Lausanne, Switzerland over the last near-decade, countless rumors and utter untruths have emerged about the F1 great—almost all being false.

Schumacher had few close friends in the always-pressing F1 media, with one notable exception being Roger Benoit, who has covered F1 for an incredible 54 years—since 1969—for the Switzerland-based German language daily newspaper Blick.


In a recent interview with his own publication, Benoit shared a few stories about his old pal, who when he wasn’t behind the wheel, regularly used to smoke cigars and play backgammon with his media friend.

f1 grand prix of brazil qualifying
Michael Schumacher drives in qualifying for the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix—his final Formula 1 race.Clive Mason - Getty Images

When asked if he knows how Schumacher is today, Benoit told Blick, “There is only one answer to this question and that is what son Mick (formerly a Haas F1 driver and now a reserve pilot for Mercedes) gave in one of his rare interviews in 2022: ‘I would give anything to talk to Dad.’ This sentence says everything about how his father has been doing for over 3,500 days.”

Then, Benoit said with such a sorrowful lament, “A case without hope.”

Michael Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, recently said in the Netflix documentary, Schumacher, “Everybody misses Michael, but Michael is here. Different, but he’s here and that gives us strength, I find.”

Corinna Schumacher continued, “We try to carry on as a family as Michael liked it and still does. And we are getting on with our lives.”

Schumacher’s wife also explained why updates on her husband’s condition to all his fans are so rarely given.

“’Private is private,’ as he always said,” Corinna Schumacher said. “It is very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible.”

While he’ll likely never play backgammon or smoke cigars again with his close friend, Benoit takes consolation in so many great memories of Schumacher and stories of their times together, with one tome that stands out in particular.

When asked what he would do if Schumacher were suddenly to appear, Benoit said, “I would be surprised at first, then happy and have a beer with him. And I would remind him that he owed me dinner.”

When asked why, Benoit added, “At one point he came up to me and said, ‘Roger, you're getting fatter! You must be 90 kilos (198.5 pounds) already.’ I answered him: ‘Are you crazy, there are a good 84 (185 pounds on his frame).’

“But he (Schumacher) didn't leave it at that and made sure that I had to stand on a scale in the pits. It then showed 86.8 kilos (191.36 pounds), but with a shirt and pants. He then promised me dinner if I fell below the 80-kilo mark.

“After that I almost only ate Bündnerfleisch (a traditional Swiss dried and smoked beef top round) and actually made it. Schumi was impressed and promised me dinner (shortly before his accident).

“He will probably owe me this redemption forever. But I'm still grateful to him, because without him I wouldn't have lost weight. By the way, I got on the scales this morning: 80.8 kilos (178 pounds)! Schumi would be proud of me.”

Click here to read the full Blick story on Benoit (you may have to click the Google link to translate the content from German to English).

Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski on X (formerly Twitter) @JerryBonkowski