Jean Todt says he is confident Michael Schumacher will recover from his skiing injuries.
The FIA president, who became close to the seven-time world champion during their days together at Ferrari, is one of only a handful of people who have visited Schumacher in hospital since he was placed into a coma three weeks ago.
There has been speculation the great 45-year-old German may not recover from his brain injuries, but Frenchman Todt said he is confident he will see his close friend again.
"Michael is a fighter and I know well his energy, his courage and his perseverance," he is quoted in German-language news reports.
"I firmly believe this will make the difference at a time when fate is hesitating," Todt reportedly said in Munich at an awards ceremony.
"It is at this time that all who love him must believe in him," he added.
Schumacher's condition no longer critical
Jan.18 | Michael Schumacher's condition is no longer critical, his management announced in a statement.
For the first time since his skiing fall almost three weeks ago, the 45-year-old German's condition was described on Friday simply as "stable", although he remains in coma.
"Michael's family is very happy and confident with the work of the team of doctors treating Michael, and they trust them completely," said the seven time world champion's manager, Sabine Kehm.
Kehm dismissed reports of recent days suggesting the great former Ferrari and Mercedes driver might never emerge from his coma, or that if he does, he will not not recover to full health.
"Unfortunately I have to repeat that any information regarding Michael's health not coming from the doctors treating him or from his management must be treated as pure speculation," she said.