Maria de Villota has made her first public appearance since almost dying at the wheel of a Marussia earlier this year.
The Spanish test driver appeared in the pages of Hola! magazine on Wednesday, but on Thursday she addressed the international media for a press conference in Madrid. Wearing a blue eye patch and showing scars from her skull injuries stretching from her forehead all the way down the side of her nose and down her face, recalled the emotional moment when she was first told she had lost her right eye.
“I looked at the doctor and asked him if he was a surgeon, and he said yes,” she is quoted by the AS sports newspaper. “I said you need two hands to operate, and I need both eyes because I’m a Formula One driver.
“At that time I did not value that this person right here had saved my life, but he saw that what really matters is life, and that I was alive,” said de Villota. “With this new opportunity I will live at 100 per cent, as with this eye I see much more than before.”
She also recalled when she looked at her injured face in the mirror for the first time and thought “Who will love me?”, but now realises that the affection of her family and her supporters is enough love “to cover this life and another”.
“I’m much better,” she is quoted by Marca sports newspaper, “although this is an endurance race. There is life beyond Formula One, and I am sure the best is yet to come.”
Also present at the press conference was Spanish motor racing president Carlos Gracia, who would not comment on the investigation into what happened that day at Duxford (UK).
“It (the investigation) is still open and we should not talk about it,” he said.