The son of Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari has provided an insight into Michael Schumacher's health condition as he condemned some of the language used when referring to the F1 legend.
Schumacher has not been seen in public since suffering a near-fatal brain injury when skiing in the French resort of Meribel in December 2013. His condition has been shrouded in secrecy for the past eight years, thanks mainly to wife Corinna, who has vowed to protect his privacy as he recovers at home in Switzerland.
Drips of information have come out over time — recently former Ferrari boss and Schumacher's close friend Jean Todt said he's hopeful the 52-year-old will recover one day — but on the whole the world has been kept in the dark over Schumacher's health.
Speaking at an awards ceremony in Rome, Piero Ferrari — vice-chairman of the famous car manufacturer — provided a glimpse into Schumacher's condition.
"I'm sorry we talk about him today as if he were dead," he said. "He's not dead, he's there but he can't communicate."
Piero also spoke briefly about his relationship with Schumacher.
"I had the pleasure of having Schumacher as a guest at home and drinking a bottle of red wine together," he said.
"He really enjoyed having these moments of intimacy and tranquillity."
Last month Netflix released the documentary SCHUMACHER, which looks at the German's life and career en route to establishing himself as one of the greatest drivers F1 has ever seen.
In it, an emotional Corinna broke down in tears as she finally spoke publicly about the incident that changed her and her family's life forever — while also revealing her husband's ominous last words before his tragic accident.
"Shortly before it happened in Meribel he said to me, 'The snow isn't optimal. We could fly to Dubai and go skydiving there'," Corinna said.
"I have never blamed God for what happened. It was just really bad luck, all the bad luck anyone can have in life.
"It's always terrible when you say, 'Why is this happening to Michael or us?' But then why does it happen to other people?
"Of course, I miss Michael every day. But it's not just me who misses him. The children, the family, his father, everyone around him. I mean, everybody misses Michael."
Corinna has been fiercely protective of her husband since the accident and revealed how the family — including the couple's son Mick and daughter Gina — have dealt with the traumatic situation over the past eight years.
"Michael is here. Different, but he's here, and that gives us strength, I find," Corinna says.
"We're together. We live together at home. We do therapy. We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he's comfortable. And to simply make him feel our family, our bond.
"And no matter what, I will do everything I can. We all will.
"We're trying to carry on as a family, the way Michael liked it and still does. And we are getting on with our lives.
"'Private is private', as he always said. It's very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible.
"Michael always protected us and now we are protecting Michael."