December 29 marked five years since Michael Schumacher’s devastating skiing accident on the French Alps, in which he suffered life-changing brain injuries.
Now 49, the seven-time Formula 1 legend’s condition has been cloaked in secrecy since the catastrophic event in 2013, and his recovery kept under strict security at his home in Switzerland, among family.
On the fifth anniversary of the accident, Schumacher’s manager and former spokesperson Sabine Kehm has spoken out about a man well-known for maintaining his privacy; a status intensified over the course of his treatment.
But now, Kehm has openly discussed why many had a “hard time” coming to know the German, as she revealed new insights into the man, describing him as the personification of “typical German characteristics”.
Going further to relate a “faithful, reliable, dutiful, fact-driven” personality, she went on to admit that the very qualities that served Schumacher on the track, limited his success and interaction “in the human field”.
Speaking to German outlet Express, Kehm said, via The Mirror: “With the same meticulousness he used to drive his professional development, he shielded his private side and his family from public life, consciously accepting that people were having a hard time meeting him."
She went on to claim that Schumacher “always freaked out” in response to public obligations and that he would often ask, “do I have to demonstratively show that I have feelings so that they can be taken from me?”
He would immediately answer his own question with, “this is hypocritical”.
The emphasis on privacy in which Schumacher shrouded his life has continued and been upheld throughout the length of his treatment and recovery; and the status of either, remains little known.
At the start of his career, Schumacher was described by Kehm as “insecure” and in constant fear of making mistakes, although she went on to make clear that he evolved into the confident national hero he eventually became by self-analysis, both as a driver and an individual.
She acknowledged he was a “complex human being”, but also that he was “passionate, generous, respectful. But also combative, strong-willed, ruthless in the matter".
Kehm went on to add that he was the ultimate team player and one who believed he had a responsibility to deliver.
Kehm became Schumacher’s press spokesperson in 2000, before going on to replace Willi Weber as manager 10 years later.
She also made clear that he was only able to financially support his son Mick’s racing ambitions in the “autumn of his career”, but that he had continued to raise his children with his own values.
“No performance, no chance – it was that simple,” she said.