The skiing accident which has left Formula One legend Michael Schumacher in a critical condition could have been a "technical error", according to reports in Germany.

Newspaper Bild suggests a glitch could have been the reason for Schumacher to fall while skiing in the French Alps. However it is not known what the technical error could have been.

Initial reports suggest Schumacher did not collide with other skiiers before hitting his head on a rock in the resort of Meribel.

Schumacher, 44, was brought to the hospital in a "coma" following a crash. He was wearing a helmet during the accident and was said to be conscious after the fall. He was airlifted by helicopter to hospital shortly after the accident.

German media reports claim Schumacher's condition worsened and was "life-threatening" following his hospitalisation. Some reports, citing neurology experts, suggest he might have suffered a brain haemorrhage, given the nature of the ongoing treatment.

His wife and two children are at the bedside of the seven-time Formula One world champion.

"He suffered head trauma with coma that needed prompt neurosurgical treatment. He remains in a critical condition," said Schumacher's agent Sabine Kehm, according to a statement released by the hospital treating the German.

The statement said the Formula One legend "was suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival, which required an immediate neurosurgical operation".

More details on Schumacher's condition are likely to be released later in the day. Initial reports, soon after the incident, said his injury was not life-threatening.

Schumacher is being treated by his close friend Professor Gerard Saillant, an expert in brain and spinal injury, at a hospital in the southeastern French city of Grenoble.

The accident took place at about 11:00am local time in the upmarket Meribel resort located at the popular Three Valleys area.

"The police are currently conducting their investigation into the origins of the fall. No one else was involved in the fall," Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte, director of Meribel resort, told French radio station RMC.

The Formula One community and the world of motorsport have expressed shock at the incident.

Schumacher, whose birthday falls on 3 January, retired from motor racing for a second time in 2012 ending a 19-year career, after being the most successful Formula One driver with 91 race victories and seven world championships.