Doctors treating seven-times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher will begin lowering his sedation level in order to start the process to wake him up, his agent said on Thursday.
Schumacher has been in an artificial coma in a hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble for more than four weeks following an accident in late December when he slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste in the resort of Meribel.
"Michael's sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking-up process, which may take (a) long time," his agent, Sabine Kehm, said in a statement.
Formula One ace Michael Schumacher's stay in intensive care reached the one-month mark on Wednesday.
After his December 29 fall, Schumacher was sedated and his body temperature cooled to around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) to ease the risk of further damage to the brain.
Surgeons at Grenoble University Hospital say they decided on the coma after operating on bleeding and bruising in his brain.
They carried out a post-operative scan that revealed "widespread lesions" on both sides of the brain.
A second operation, to treat bleeding, took place on December 30.
Four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel said Tuesday he was hoping for a "miracle and he can be the same guy he was before."
"We still don't know what shape he will be in when he wakes up, which is awful for his family and friends," Vettel told reporters in Jerez in southern Spain.
And Niki Lauda, a three-time F1 world champion, added: "Michael, every day I follow your improvements and every day I am close to you. I hope I can speak to you very, very soon!"