Grand Prix Drivers’ chairman calls for safety probe after De Villota crash

Grand Prix Drivers’ chairman Pedro de la Rosa has called for an investigation into Maria de Villota’s crash at Duxford Aerodrome earlier in the week to see if any safety changes need to be made. De Villota was conducting straight-line aero testing for the Marussia team at the private event. The 32-year-old Spaniard had just completed her initial installation run when her car ran into the tailgate of a support truck at around 30mph.

Duxford, which was an old World War Two airfield base, is an FIA approved venue however the FIA do not attend private sessions.

De la Rosa, chairman of the GPDA, said “We will put the facts on the table to see if there is anything we need to change to improve. When an accident happens, it means that something didn’t work properly.

“We need to make sure, between the FIA, the teams and the GPDA, that we make changes for the future because it’s not good enough. The first thing we need to do is understand what happened, what safety measures were taken and how the airfield was prepared for Formula One testing.”

Felipe Massa, who suffered an accident three years ago when a spring from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn car hit him on the helmet on a high speed part of the track, an accident which required him to have a titanium plate inserted into his skull, also believes that it is important to understand what caused de Villota’s accident.

“The most important thing is to understand what happened,” Massa said. “The FIA need to understand as well, to put everything in place for maximum safety that we need to have.

“Maria has 100% of my support. I suffered similar injuries, and thank God nothing happened to me, but I really hope everything will be okay for her and she is able to live her life in the best way she deserves.

“For me, it was not easy at first. You are at home and you are wanting to get back into the car, to race. I felt okay after the accident, but I knew I needed the time to recuperate. Staying positive helps your recovery, to have positive things in your brain, and my recovery was quicker than it was supposed to be.”