Michael Schumacher
File photo of Mercedes Formula One driver Schumacher of Germany celebrating being the fastest in qualifying at the Monaco F1 Grand PrixReuters

Michael Schumacher's family have released a brief statement thanking both the medical teams treating the racing champion, and the public for their support.

The statement read: "We would like to thank the medical team who we know do everything possible to help Michael.

"We like to also thank the people from all around the world who have expressed their sympathy and sent their best wishes for Michael's recovery."

The motor racing world champion is fighting for his life say doctors.

The 44-year-old remains in a critical condition with surgeons working "hour by hour" to save him.

Schumacher was skiing with his son at the French Alps resort of Meribel on the Dent de Burgin" peak when the accident occurred and his head struck a rock.

While he remains in an induced coma doctors say they "cannot predict his future".

At a press conference this morning doctors revealed the racing champion he had suffered many lesions to his brain and his prognosis was unclear.

Surgeons operated to remove a blood clot in his brain and are now trying to reduce "dangerous swelling", meaning his condition could go either way.

Chief Anaesthetist Jean-Francois Payen told journalists: "He's in a critical situation - this is considered to be extremely serious."

Neurosurgeon Stephan Chabardes said an emergency brain scan had revealed internal bleeding, and injuries including contusions and lesions.

"On his arrival we examined him clinically and we realised he was in a serious condition, in a coma, with in fact cranial pressure," Dr Chabardes said.

"The brain scan showed a number of pieces of information, some intercranial haematoma but also some cerebral contusions and oedema.

"We operated urgently to try to eliminate the haematoma. After the operation we saw that we had been able to eliminate these haematoma but also sadly the appearance of various bilateral lesions. So therefore he was taken to intensive care to try to help."

Michael Schumacher Critical After Ski Accident
Schumacher was skiing off-piste when the accident occured.

Schumacher's family are at his bedside, while friends had flown in to the hospital to offer their support.

Schumacher was wearing a helmet when he hit his head on a rock. Doctors have said he would not have survived at all had he not been wearing the helmet.

A seven-time world champion, Schumacher first retired from Formula One in 2006 and made a comeback to Formula One for Mercedes in 2010.

He has been hurt seriously once before, in a motorcycling accident in February 2009 when he suffered neck and spine injuries, however he made a full recovery and resumed his racing career.