Jean Todt has delivered perhaps the most promising news about Michael Schumacher's condition since the F1 legend's fateful skiing fall last December.
The pair became close friends at Ferrari last decade as the Italian team dominated formula one.
Since then, 45-year-old Schumacher has retired and Frenchman Todt is now FIA president, but they remained close friends.
Todt has visited the Schumacher family since the seven time world champion returned to his home in Switzerland after months in hospital and rehabilitation.
Precious little is known about Schumacher's health condition, but Todt has reportedly now delivered an upbeat report to the Belgian broadcaster RTL.
"We may assume that Schumacher can live a relatively normal life within a short period of time," said the FIA president. "What we can say is that he will probably never again drive a formula one car."
RTL said Todt, 68, visited Schumacher at his home on the shore of Lake Geneva in the week before the Japanese grand prix.
"He fights. His condition improves, which is very important," said Jean Todt, "as is the fact that he is now home with his family."