Michael Schumacher has returned to his family home to continue treatment on the extensive head injuries he suffered over eight months ago in a skiing accident, his manager has confirmed.
The F1 champion suffered severe brain damage after hitting his head on a rock while skiing in the exclusive French ski resort of Meribel. He was immediately taken to the Grenoble University Hospital where he underwent two operations to remove haematomas from the brain and reduce swelling, before being transferred to the CHUV Hospital in Lausanne nearer to his home.
Speaking publicly for the first time in over a month, Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm confirmed that the seven-time Formula One world champion had returned home having made progress in the "past week and months."
"Henceforth, Michael's rehabilitation will take place at his home," said Kehm. "Considering the severe injuries he suffered, progress has been made in the past weeks and months. There is still, however, a long and difficult road ahead.
"We would like to extend our gratitude to the entire team at the CHUV Lausanne for their thorough and competent work.
"We ask that the privacy of Michael's family continue to be respected, and that speculations about his state of health are avoided.
Schumacher suffered the accident on 30 December last year, and after undergoing two separate operations, attempts to bring him out of his medically-induced coma began towards the end of January.
The 45-year-old remained in the Grenoble University Hospital until June when Kehm confirmed that he had been moved to Lausanne to continue his treatment, when she also confirmed that he was no longer in the coma that he had been placed into some six months previous.
Kehm said in June: "Michael has left the CHU Grenoble to continue his long phase of rehabilitation. He is not in a coma anymore."
The news will be seen as another positive step towards any recovery Schumacher can make. After an unrivalled career in F1, Schumacher announced his retirement in 2006, ending his 15-year career and period of domination that he enjoyed with Ferrari.