David Schumacher, the nephew of seven-time F1 champion Michael, suffered a broken spine in a horrific crash at the Hockenheimring DTM event on Saturday. The 20-year-old was involved in a heavy collision with Thomas Preining on lap six before Rolf Ineichen and Dennis Olsen also hit the barriers, with the latter’s car bursting into flames in the immediate aftermath of the impact.
All four drivers were whisked off to be examined by medics after the event was red-flagged, with Schumacher initially being sent home after being given the all-clear, while the others appeared to be unhurt. However, it has since been revealed by Schumacher’s father, Ralf, that he actually suffered a broken vertebra and will be forced to sit out for around six weeks as he recovers.
“When David came home, he was still complaining about back pain,” Ralf told Motorsport Magazine. “We then decided to go to a hospital in Salzburg to have an MRI done.
“It turned out that a lumbar vertebra was broken. According to the treating physicians, this means a break of around six weeks for David.”
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Schumacher’s crash took place during the final race of the DTM season, which he finished without picking up a single point over the course of the campaign to finish 28th in the driver standings. He will not require surgery to correct his injury in spite of the break in his spine, according to Bild, although it is not yet clear whether he will be returning to DTM next year after signing with Winward Mercedes for the duration of 2022.
The Salzburg native, who is also the cousin of Haas driver Mick Schumacher, boasts over four years of single-seater experience and registered an 11th-placed finish in Formula 3 back in 2021, winning once at the Red Bull Ring. He was blamed by Preining in the aftermath of Saturday’s multi-car incident before Schumacher’s mother, Cora, took to social media to defend his corner.
“David Schumacher is doing well, that’s the most important thing,” she wrote. “Nevertheless, I have to say that I absolutely don’t think it’s okay for Thomas Preining to make negative comments about our son every time without any self-reflection.
“He himself had oversteered and did not have his car under control. It’s always easier to look for faults in others.”
The wreckage showed the true extent of the horrific crash, with broken parts from Olsen’s engine strewn across the track, and the drivers involved were lucky to emerge unscathed or with only minor injuries. Schumacher insisted that he could have done nothing to prevent the collision when quizzed on what happened after the incident, which marked his seventh retirement of the year.
“I was driving to the left of Preining through the fast-right in front of the East Grandstand when he pulled to the outside,” Schumacher told Autosport. “We touched, both turned right and from then on I was just a passenger. The impact was really violent.”
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