Formula One pays tribute as Schumacher turns 50
Updated 11:11, 07-Jan-2019
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher turned 50 on Thursday as Formula One and his fans paid tribute to the sport's most successful driver with a mixture of celebration and sorrow.
The German great retired from racing in 2012 after a comeback with Mercedes. He has not been seen in public since he suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps five years ago.
"Our champ turns 50 today. We're all with you Michael #KeepFighting," said Ferrari, celebrating a driver who won five titles in a row for the Italian team in a golden era between 2000 and 2004.
Screenshot from Ferrari's Twitter

Screenshot from Ferrari's Twitter

"…the greatest F1 champion in history, with unbroken records. Michael, you've always been a fighter and you always will be," said former Ferrari boss Jean Todt, the president of the sport's governing body the International Automobile Federation (FIA), on Twitter.
Screeshot from Jean Todt's Twitter

Screeshot from Jean Todt's Twitter

Schumacher holds the records for most titles and 91 Grand Prix wins, even if Britain's five-time champion Lewis Hamilton is closing in.
Hamilton, who raced against Schumacher at McLaren before taking the German's place at Mercedes in 2013, hailed his fellow-champion on Instagram and said his legacy would last forever.
"What an honor it is to say that I have raced with you," added the Briton. "You've always been a true inspiration to me and the entire world. Keep fighting, Champ."
Screenshot from Lewis Hamilton's Twitter

Screenshot from Lewis Hamilton's Twitter

At the same time, the Formula One website declared "Schumacher Week," with stories and interviews, while Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff spoke of the German's "tremendous impact" and said he had shaped and changed the sport forever.
Schumacher's family have also made a rare statement on Wednesday at his home on the shores of Lake Geneva, that he is being in "the very best of hands that we are doing everything humanly possible to help him."
"Please understand if we are following Michael's wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy," said the statement.
Schumacher's son Mick, 19, is now set to debut in Formula Two, the rung below Formula One, this year after winning the European F3 title while 21-year-old daughter Gina-Marie is a rising equestrian talent.
(With input from Reuters and Xinhua)