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Bahrain circuit to honor Schumacher

Ferrari Formula One driver Michael Schumacher of Germany celebrates after taking the pole position at the end of the qualifying session for
Ferrari Formula One driver Michael Schumacher of Germany celebrates after taking the pole position at the end of the qualifying session for

(Reuters) - Seven times world champion Michael Schumacher, still in a coma in a French hospital after a skiing accident in late December, is to have the first corner of Bahrain's Formula One circuit named after him.

The German won the inaugural Bahrain race in 2004 and also advised on the design of the circuit.

"From his first appearance... in 2004, he immediately became an inspiration for all those who love motorsport in the Kingdom and it is therefore natural for us to recognize him in this way," Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed al Zayani said in a statement on Sunday.

Schumacher's representative Sabine Kehm said the family welcomed the move.

"I am convinced Michael will love the idea and feel very honored about having a BIC corner named after him," she added.

Schumacher also has a corner named after him at the Nuerburgring circuit in Germany.

The announcement was made on the last day of pre-season testing at the circuit ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 16.

Bahrain hosts the third round of the championship on April 6, with the race becoming an evening event under floodlights for the first time as part of 10th anniversary celebrations.

Schumacher, 45, has undergone two operations since sustaining brain injuries after hitting his head on a rock while skiing with his family in the French Alpine resort of Meribel on December 29.

Doctors at the hospital in Grenoble started waking him up progressively by lowering his sedation in early February but there have been no medical updates for some weeks.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by John O'Brien)

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