Doctors at a French hospital where Michael Schumacher is in a critical condition after a skiing accident, said it is too early to predict whether the seven-times Formula 1 champion will recover.

The hospital in Grenoble said that at present the 44-year-old German remains in critical condition in a state of induced coma.

"We can't say with certainty if Michael Schumacher will recover," said professor Jean-Francois Payen. "We can say he is fighting for his life. We judge him to be in a very serious situation."

"We are working hour-by-hour but it's too early to say what is going to happen and to have a prognosis," he added.

Schumacher fell while skiing off-piste with his son in the in the resort of Meribel on the French Alps and his head hit a rock.

He was wearing a helmet during the accident, something that doctors said might have saved his life.

"We think his helmet did help, without a helmet he wouldn't be here now," Payen said.

The doctor dismissed rumours Schumacher had undergone a second operation and said the F1 Champion's family is with him at his bedside.

"We are in constant contact with his family that are by his bedside. At this moment we don't see he is going to need a second operation," Payen said.

Another doctor said Schumacher was conscious and agitated when he first arrived at the hospital.

The Formula 1 community and the world of sport 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, which includes 91 race victories and seven world championships.