Michael Schumacher 'cries when hears voices of wife, kids'

MICHAEL Schumacher still faces a long road to recovery as reports emerged on his 46th birthday that he is beginning to recognise his family.

The family of the seven-time Formula One champion have released little information on Mr Schumacher's recovery since his accident while skiing in the French resort of Meribel in December 2013.

Unverified reports published by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera claim that "sometimes a tear rolls down Michael's face. He cries when he hears the voice of his children or Corinna [his wife]".

The Italian editor of Autospirit Alberto Sabbatini has also commented on Mr Schumacher, describing "a long and difficult" recovery - and insisting his information on the racing driver's condition is based on "reliable and verified information" from "those who know and have seen him recently and are aware of his clinical status".

Mr Sabbatini commented that the latest information appeared to show "that he feels emotion," adding Corriere della Sera's claims indicate "that his brain works."

The Italian editor also alleged that this "is a sign that he is alive and understands, even if for now he is the prisoner of an immobile body," according to remarks quoted in The Times.

Nonetheless, only last week surgeon Gérard Saillant - who treated Mr Schumacher after his accident - denied claims that he was beginning to recognise his family and close friends.

Mr Schumacher suffered serious head injuries when he hit a rock while he was skiing off piste in December 2013. The impact of the crash smashed his helmet and he remained in a coma for six months.

In July Schumacher's wife Corinna released a statement to his fans, thanking them for their support. "I have to say your sympathies blew us all away.

"It is good to know that together we made it through the hardest time.

"Now we are facing a phase which will presumably take a long time."