Formula 1 - Michael Schumacher 'responding to instructions', has blinked

Formula One legend Michael Schumacher is now reportedly "responding to instructions" as he is very tentatively brought out of his intensive coma.

Reports in France have said Schumacher has “blinked” as medics begin the gradual and very difficult process of bringing him back to consciousness.

Schumacher has now undergone a number of neurological tests since Monday and has responded "positively", according to “very reliable sources” cited by French newspaper L’Equipe.

The 45-year-old, who suffered traumatic brain injury in his near-fatal skiing accident on December 29 in Meribel, France found himself in the artificial coma up until the point that medics decide to ‘gradually awaken’ him.

The medics have now begun the process of ending his coma and slowly but regularly reducing the dosage of anaesthetic drugs he was reliant upon as his brain is given further time to heal.

Schumacher blinked during the 'first stage' of brain tests, according to the French daily newspaper with the publication "100 per cent sure" that its report is entirely correct.

According to L’Equipe: "After gradually reducing the sedation of the patient, the team of Professor Emmanuel Gay [the medic overseeing Schumacher’s treatment] has been doing neurological tests since Monday. During this first stage, the patient blinked.

"Schumacher appears to show this type of reawakening,” it added.

Following intense media interest worldwide, Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm was forced to confirm that Schumacher was being brought round from his coma. She had initially responded to the reports by telling fans to treat all unofficial statements as speculation.

She said: "Michael’s sedation has recently been reduced to initiate a process of awakening which may take a long time.

"To protect the family, initially it was clearly agreed between all parties only to disclose this medical information once this process was consolidated.

"The family wishes to express sincere appreciation for the sympathy they have received from around the world."

Schumacher has been receiving round-the-clock care in Grenoble University Hospital and the assembled media have been repeatedly asked to leave the family in peace.