FORMULA 1 racing legend Michael Schumacher is slowly being brought out of a coma, reports from France indicate.
The former world champion has been kept in a medically induced coma ever since a severe skiing accident.
Michael (45) has now been placed in a phase of "gradually awakening".
And he is said to be responding positively in the clinic in Grenoble, France.
"After four consecutive weeks in a coma, Michael Schumacher has been placed, according to our information, in a phase of gradual awakening," a report in French newspaper L'Equipe said.
"It is a slow and uncertain process of return.
"Michael Schumacher is responding positively to the process, started this week."
A spokesman for his family said Schumacher was "a fighter."
"We know he won't give up," they added.
However, the Formula 1 driver's manager said that these suggestions were "speculation".
But she said Schumacher remained in a stable condition at the clinic.
Other sources close to the sport's most successful driver claimed doctors have shelved such plans to give his brain more time to recover.
Papers in Germany have recently been speculating that Schumacher may have sustained permanent brain damage.
"In the best-case scenario, a long neurological rehabilitation awaits him," they said.
Earlier this week, reigning Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel said he was praying for a miracle recovery for his friend.
Speaking trackside at Jerez in Spain, where his Red Bull team were testing their new car, Vettel said it was distressing to hear the news of his friend.
"We still don't know what shape he will be in when he wakes up," the 26-year-old said.
"It's horrible, especially for his family and friends, not knowing what will happen.
"In that regard I think I am still as shocked as everyone else and I pray and hope he will just come back and the miracle will happen and he will be the person he has always been before."
Vettel, at times appearing lost for words, said he had known Schumacher for a long time and looked up to him all his life.
Vettel said that when he heard first heard about the skiing accident he didn't think it was serious bad but now, weeks later, his friend is still in a coma.