A female driver conducted a secret Formula One test with Renault two weeks ago, according to rumours.
Spain’s Marca and Italy’s Italiaracing report that 31-year-old Spaniard Maria de Villota, the daughter of former F1 driver Emilio de Villota, was at the wheel of a two-year old Renault R29.
The test took place at the Bernie Ecclestone-linked Paul Ricard circuit, and was reportedly attended by formula one’s 80-year-old chief executive.
De Villota currently races in the open wheel category Superleague, but she has also contested the Euroseries 3000, Spanish GT and F3, and World Touring Cars.
The test took place before Renault’s mandatory two-week August factory shutdown commenced, and in line with F1 test ban guidelines that allow some limited running with dated F1 cars.
Italiaracing said Ecclestone was “probably the instigator of the operation”, in line with his desire to “bring a woman into F1”.
De Villota was early last year linked with a seat at HRT, when the Spanish team was known as Hispania and headed by Adrian Campos.