In this file photo from 2011, Michael Schumacher smiles at the back of the pits ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Doctors treating Michael Schumacher will begin lowering his sedation level in order to start the process of waking him up, his agent said on Thursday.

Spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said that doctors have begun reducing the drugs that are being used to keep the Formula One legend unconscious, although it might take some time for him to wake up.

"For the protection of the family, it was originally agreed by the interested parties to communicate this information only once this process was consolidated. Please note that no further updates will be given," Kehm added.

The spokeswoman asked the media to respect the privacy of Schumacher's family and not to disturb the doctors treating him.

The seven-times F1 champion has been kept in intensive care in the central Grenoble University Hospital, where he underwent surgery following a December 29 ski accident. He smashed his head against a rock in the French Alps, splitting the helmet he was wearing and causing critical head injuries.

Surgeons said he suffered bleeding and bruising in his brain and a scan showed "widespread lesions".

It was not known what state he would be in if the waking process was successful.

Experts said it was rare to keep a patient in an artificial coma for more than three weeks.

In accidents of a similar severity, patients often had a disability after their emergence from coma, the experts noted.

Reuters & AFP