Ex-Formula One racer Giancarlo Fisichella has claimed that it would ‘not be possible’ for legendary Ferrari star Michael Schumacher to return to the paddock.
The F1 legend has not been seen in public since suffering a severe brain injury in a horror skiing accident back in 2013.
Only a select few individuals are allowed to see Schumacher, with his condition shrouded in secrecy.
Fisichella, who won two races and represented teams including Ferrari, Benetton, Jordan and Sauber during his career, raced against Schumacher between his debut season in 1996 and 2006 – when the German first retired.
The Italian, who retired in 2009 and is now 51-years-old, said that Schumacher could have gone on to become a top team principal in one of the sport’s leading teams.
Michael Schumacher could have become a top team principal insists a former racing opponent
Giancarlo Fisichella (left) raced alongside Schumacher between 1996 and 2006 and has said that it is a ‘shame’ that it is ‘not possible’ for the German star to return to the F1 paddock
Secrecy has shrouded Schumacher’s condition though he is cared for by a team of medical staff and his wife Corinna (left) at their Lake Geneva home
He said: ‘Michael was a great driver, but for sure he could be also a great manager or team principal in a top team.
‘So it’s a shame it’s not possible for him in his condition, you know.’
He added: ‘I think Michael was one of the best drivers in the world, he is the history of Formula One. He won seven times the championship.
‘I’m really honoured to have raced against him and, especially when sometimes I went on the podium and I shared the podium with him.
‘I’m a little bit disappointed because I never raced with him in as a teammate in the same team because I really respected him and I think he’s probably the best driver in the world.’
December marked the ten-year anniversary of Schumacher’s skiing accident.
Schumacher, who wore a helmet, was put into an artificial coma and underwent several surgeries.
His family have maintained a strict privacy about his condition, though he is cared for by a team of medical staff and his wife Corinna at their Lake Geneva home.
His brother Ralf, who was a former team-mate of Fisichella at Jordan, said that things ‘aren’t as they used to be’.
Fisichella is given a lift to the pits by Schumacher after retiring from second place in the 1997 German Grand Prix
Fisichella (right) said that Schumacher was probably the ‘best driver in the world’
The former F1 driver admitted: ‘I miss the Michael of the old days. Life is unfair from time to time.
‘Michael was very lucky throughout his life. But then there was this tragic accident.’
The 48-year-old entrepreneur and pundit added: ‘Fortunately, advanced medical science provides many opportunities. However, nothing is like it used to be.’
Ralf, who won six F1 Grand Prix, emphasised that Michael had been more than just his older brother.
He told local media: ‘Michael wasn’t only my brother. When we were kids, he was also my coach and mentor. He taught me literally everything about kart racing.’
Only few bits of information have come out since Schumacher’s accident, with ex-team-mate Johnny Herbert claiming the German is ‘able to sit at the dinner table’.
However, in the Netflix documentary ‘Schumacher’, which aired in 2021, his wife Corinna did provide a rare update.
She revealed he continues to undergo rehabilitation for the life-changing injuries he suffered and claimed he is now ‘different, but here’.