FIA President Jean Todt says it has been 'painful' to see Michael Schumacher after his alpine skiing accident in December 2014 as he treats the F1 legend like his own family.
The former Ferrari team principal dominated F1 with Michael Schumacher in the 2000s, taking five consecutive world championships (2000-2004) with the German, and has remained a close friend to the Schumacher family since.
After being asked how difficult it has been to watch Jules Bianchi succumb to his injuries suffered at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix and Schumacher's recovery from a life-threatening accident suffered while skiing in the Alps, Todt says it has been agonising period.
“I would say I would not compare both,” Todt said at the Sid Watkins Lecture about safety in motorsport and roads. “I knew Jules Bianchi through my son [Nicolas], so for my son it was something terrible and it is terrible to lose somebody in an accident.
“For Michael it is different because he is like my family and if you have somebody who is like family or is very close and is badly injured of course it is painful and you have to be there with the family. Tonight I will be there for him. That is the bad side of life.”
Schumacher is currently recovering at his family home and his family have maintained a strict private life since his accident two years ago, with little being known about the seven-time F1 world champion's state of health.