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How Should Formula 1 React in Absence of Michael Schumacher Updates?

YEONGAM GUN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 23:  Michael Schumacher of Germany and Mercedes GP prepares to drive during the final practice session prior to qualifying for the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit on October 23, 2010 in Yeongam-gun, South Korea.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Neil JamesFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2014

It was announced at the beginning of the week that seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was no longer in a coma and had left the CHU Grenoble in France.

His family's spokeswomen, Sabine Kehm, released a statement on Monday. Per Autosport, it said:

Michael has left the CHU Grenoble to continue his long phase of rehabilitation. He is not in a coma anymore.

His family would like to explicitly thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble as well as the first aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months.

The family also wishes to thank all the people who have sent Michael all the many good wishes to Michael. We are sure it helped him.

For the future we ask for understanding that his further rehabilitation will take place away from the public eye.

It was later confirmed by Lausanne hospital spokesman Darcy Christen and reported by Reuters that Schumacher had been moved to the hospital there. The centre is just 20 miles from his family home on the shores of Lake Geneva.

But while the news that Schumacher's rehabilitation is going to take place at a hospital where his family and friends can more conveniently visit is good, there was no real update on his condition or prognosis.

Kehm deliberately did not make any mention of those things. We still don't know anything beyond what she said, which was very little.

Nor do we have any right to.

Once this week's frenzy has petered out, the Formula One communitythe fans, teams, drivers, media and everyone elseshould go back to doing what they were doing before the news of the move broke.

Quietly, respectfully waiting.

Media gathered at the Lausanne Hospital.
Media gathered at the Lausanne Hospital.Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

The family have made it clear that they wish to keep Schumacher's rehabilitation away from the public eye. It's possible the announcement he had been moved was only made because magazines and newspapers had been speculating about it for days.

That sort of speculation, and speculation about his condition, is not appreciated.

Nor, one would expect, are overt displays of "tribute," which invariably require some form of polite response.

Let's have no more corners named "Schumacher" for the time being. We don't need to see a glut of fresh hashtags appearing on the cars, drivers racing in Schumacher-inspired helmets or vigils outside hospitals.

The drivers don't need to be asked what they think about Schumacher. If he's in someone's prayers, only one guy needs to know about it, and he probably doesn't watch Sky Sports News.

And we certainly don't need to know what rent-a-quote doctors, who have not treated Schumacher and have no more idea about his condition than we do, think about his chances of recovery.

Yes, Schumacher is a public figure and, yes, there are millions of people around the world with an interest in how he is doing.

Schumacher with wife Corina.
Schumacher with wife Corina.TOBY TALBOT/Associated Press/Associated Press

But he's also a father, husband, friend, uncle and son, and that's far more important.

In his family's situation, we wouldn't want the world camped on our doorsteps, asking questions, playing guessing games with medical "experts" or drawing attention to extremely public and overt displays of "support."

So let's let this week pass by and let the current furore come to an end. Then we can go back to our lives and let the Schumachers get on with theirs.

And if some real news emerges, news the family actually wants to share. . .then we can respond.

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