Michael Schumacher's sedation is being reduced by doctors to start the waking up process from an induced coma, his manager Sabine Kehm said on Thursday.
The record Formula One world champion Schumacher, 45, suffered critical head injuries in a skiing accident on December 29 in the French resort of Meribel, dpa reported.
He was taken to hospital in Grenoble where he was operated on twice and put in an artificial coma.
"Michael's sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking up process which may take long time," Kehm said in a statement.
"For the protection of the family, it was originally agreed by the interested parties to communicate this information only once this process was consolidated. Please note that no further updates will be given." Kehm had declined to comment Wednesday on a report by French sports daily L'Equipe, which, citing hospital sources, said doctors had started to bring Schumacher out of the induced coma and that he was "reacting positively."
Kehm's statement Thursday also said: "The family of Michael Schumacher is again requesting to respect its privacy and the medical secret, and to not disturb the doctors treating Michael in their work. At the same time, the family wishes to express sincere appreciation for the world wide sympathy."
The world of Formula One has united behind Schumacher during the current pre-season tests in Jerez, Spain, most notably his former teams Mercedes and Ferrari. Schumacher won five of his seven titles during his 11 years with the Scuderia and came out of retirement in 2010 to drive for Mercedes for three seasons.