Michael Schumacher is being slowly brought out of his month-long induced coma, according to his manager.
The former Formula One world champion has spent the past month in hospital following a skiing accident in the French resort of Meribel.
His manager confirmed today that steps are under way to bring Schumacher out of his coma following the accident on 29 December.
In a statement, his manager said his sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking-up process, which may take a long time.
After the accident, Schumacher was sedated and his body temperature cooled to around 35C 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 30 December.
Four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel said this week 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.
Schumacher, who turned 45 on 3 January, dominated Formula One.
He won the F1 title seven times, more than any other driver, and notched up 91 victories between 1994 and 2004.
He first retired aged 37 but was unable to resist the lure of the track.
In 2010, he came out of retirement but was unable to recover his previous performance and quit for good in 2012.
As an F1 racer, Schumacher was known for his daring overtaking manoeuvres, his at-times almost reckless abandon in the pursuit of victory and his mastery of tricky conditions presented by rain.
On the day of the skiing accident, Schumacher appears to have skied on a partially covered rock, lost his balance and fallen on another rock further down, according to the prosecutor in charge of the investigation.
The impact was so strong it smashed his helmet in two.
Investigators have ruled out faulty skis, inadequate signage or excessive speed as possible causes of the crash.