De Villota no longer in intensive care – sister

Maria de Villota has moved out of the intensive care unit at a Cambridge hospital.

Marussia boss John Booth said on Sunday that the team’s test driver is no longer in an artificial coma and has therefore been able to speak with her family, including her father and former F1 driver Emilio de Villota.

“Her level of sedation has been reduced markedly,” he told the Spanish broadcaster Antena3.

De Villota’s sister Isabel is quoted by the Spanish media as saying the 32-year-old has “made good progress in the last hours” and has “left the ICU unit”. But she warned: “The coming days will be crucial for her recovery and to determine the extent of the consequences (of her injuries).”


Booth: De Villota awake and talking to family

Marussia team boss John Booth on Sunday had some good news about Maria de Villota’s improving condition.

Although upgraded from a “critical” to “serious” condition in the wake of her latest head and facial surgery, the last word about the 32-year-old Spaniard was that she was in an artificial coma. No more. Booth said just ahead of the British grand prix that the team’s test driver, who lost her right eye after an horror testing crash at Duxford airfield on Tuesday, is now awake and “talking with her family”.

He said that is “great news”.


Marussia boss refuses to be drawn on cause of De Villota’s crash

Maria de Villota’s condition has been downgraded from ‘critical’ to ‘serious’ as she recovers from her horror testing crash in an English hospital. Marussia’s 32-year-old test driver is currently in an induced coma following another round of surgery on Friday.

“Whilst Maria remains acutely ill … she has been responding well to the treatment she has received since her accident,” the team said in a statement.

Team boss John Booth told Bild newspaper: “The swelling in her head is not getting worse. This is some good news, but it will take a lot of time before she is completely well again. At the moment it’s day to day, hour to hour.”

Briton Booth said de Villota, who lost her right eye due to the severe head and face injuries, is aware of what has happened.

“Yes, she has spent most of the time conscious,” he told the German newspaper. “But after the long surgery, the doctors decided it would be best for her recovery if she is in an artificial coma.”

He denied Marussia acted negligently by putting an inexperienced driver, who does not have an FIA super license, at the wheel of the team’s 2012 car for an aerodynamic straight line test.

“No, we did not. This is the normal method for a team to train its new development drivers and give them some experience. And it was not the first time Maria has driven a modern Formula One car.”

Booth would not talk about the likely cause of the crash.

“I cannot. Not yet,” he insisted. “Unlike in some other countries there are very strict procedures in England. What happened must not only be examined by the team but also by the authorities.”

Booth said he can therefore “not talk about” issues such as why the truck loading ramp was sticking up at visor height. Asked if the incident could have “serious consequences” for the Marussia team, he answered: “All I can say is that safety is taken very seriously in England.”


Botth: Marussia thinking about KERS

Marussia needs a KERS system to catch up with its direct rivals. That is the admission of team boss John Booth, who told the Russian website that he is looking into adding the energy recovery technology to next year’s Marussia package.

“First of all, I want to say that while it is said it (KERS) is a ‘green’ technology, in reality it’s just a serious waste of money,” he said. “But in our situation it’s time to start thinking seriously about KERS. Of the gap to Caterham, five or six tenths is due to KERS. So we are thinking seriously about it for 2013, but so far there is no decision.”

Both admitted the start of the 2012 season has been a disappointment so far for Marussia, which in its first two years was called Virgin. He said the team has recently completed a phase of serious restructuring.

“We had a good team of people before, but now we have a good team of designers. Though we have been in F1 for three years, I have the feeling that we were actually born in July 2011.”

Both is undoubtedly referring to the split mid last year with former technical chief Nick Wirth, and the relocation to a new headquarters.