Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt has revealed he saw Michael Schumacher last week and says the seven-time Formula One world champion is fighting to overcome the devastating injuries that have kept him out of public view for almost seven years.
Following a skiing accident on the French Alps in December 2013, Schumacher's condition has been kept a closely guarded secret from those outside his Lake Geneva home.
FIA president Todt (74) is among just a handful of visitors to see the 51-year-old. The Frenchman oversaw five of Schumacher's seven titles as team principal for Ferrari.
On the eve of the Italian constructor's 1,000th race, Todt said: "I saw Michael last week. He is fighting. My God, we know he had a terrible and unfortunate skiing accident which has caused him a lot of problems. But he has an amazing wife next to him, he has his kids, his nurses, and we can only wish him the best and to wish the family the best, too.
"All I can do is to be close to them until I am able to do something, and then I will do it."
Schumacher won 72 of his record 91 victories for Ferrari, and this weekend's race in Mugello is a landmark for his former team.
Lewis Hamilton will move to within just one win of Schumacher's all-time win tally if he triumphs at Ferrari's home track tomorrow. The 35-year-old British driver is also on course to match Schumacher's record seven world titles this year.
"Lewis will beat all of Michael's records simply because he is a very talented driver," added Todt. "He is motivated and driving for the best team. He has the best car, the best engine, so all the ingredients are there."
Valtteri Bottas beat Hamilton to top spot in practice for the Tuscan Grand Prix as Lando Norris crashed out and Sergio Perez collided with Kimi Raikkonen.
The Finn, who trails Hamilton by 47 points in the standings, saw off Red Bull's Max Verstappen in the first action before beating Hamilton by 0.207 seconds later in the day.
Ferrari might have been encouraged by Charles Leclerc finishing third in the opening session.
But Leclerc dropped to 10th in the next running, 1.4 seconds behind Bottas, with Sebastian Vettel finishing 12th in the sister Ferrari.