The editor of German magazine Die Aktuelle has been sacked after using an artificial intelligence programme to generate fake quotes from seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, the media group Funke announced.
Anne Hoffmann had stirred up a storm of controversy when on Wednesday the magazine published the interview — the first since Schumacher suffered a serious brain injury in a 2013 skiing accident in the French Alps.
Schumacher’s family, who have carefully guarded the 54-year-old’s privacy since the accident, said they were planning legal action.
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Bianca Pohlmann, director of the Funke magazine group, apologised to the family on Saturday.
“This article was in bad taste and misleading and should never have appeared,” said Pohlmann in a statement.
“It does not meet in any way the standards of journalism that we — and our readers — expect of a group like Funke. The editor in chief of ‘Die Aktuelle’, Anne Hoffmann, who has been in charge since 2009, has been relieved of her role as of now.”
Michael Schumacher celetrates after winning a race. File photo
The article included quotes attributed to Schumacher, discussing his family life since the accident and his medical condition.
Schumacher has not been seen in public since the injury and little information has been given publicly on his condition. Reports suggest Schumacher has memory, movement and speech problems and is being cared for at home near Geneva.
Schumacher’s seven Formula One titles is equal best alongside Lewis Hamilton. The German recorded 91 Grand Prix victories, second only to Hamilton’s 103.
Michael’s son, Mick, 24, is also a Formula One driver and currently a reserve driver with Mercedes.
Half the F1 calendar could become sprint races, says Steiner: Half the Formula One calendar could be turned into sprint weekends if changes to the format are given the go-ahead and prove a hit in Baku next week, according to Haas team boss Guenther Steiner.
The sport is due to vote next week on changing the sprint format from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix so that the Saturday 100km race stands alone with its own qualifying replacing final practice.
MotoGP has already turned its whole calendar into two-race weekends, with a sprint on Saturday and the main event on Sunday.
Formula One has scheduled six sprints this season, up from three last year.
“I don’t know if we will do it every race weekend. Maybe do a few more or maybe do half of the calendar. But the F1 promoter will know what to do,” Steiner told Reuters in an interview through team sponsor MoneyGram.
“At the moment there is more demand for races (than slots available) so how can you get more races in, more competition, more racing if we cannot do more than 24 events? So just make the event double count.”
This season has a record 23 races but 2024 is expected to see the return of China after a four-year absence due to COVID-19.