De Villota to undergo more operations

Maria de Villota has revealed she will undergo at least two more operations in the near future.

The 32-year-old female driver, who lost her left eye in the incident, suffered serious skull, brain and face injuries earlier this year during a day of straightline testing for Marussia at a UK airfield. She is quoted by the Spanish sports daily Marca as revealing she has “five plates” in her head as a result of the impact with the truck loading ramp, “and they are still not all positioned quite right”. And a second forthcoming operation, she explained, is to remedy a problem with the “limited” movement of her mouth, caused by muscle atrophy.

The Spaniard said surgeons intend to fix the problems “in one or two operations, if possible”.

De Villota insisted: “I have never lost my good mood as I think that everything is for the better.”


De Villota shows scars to media at press conference

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.


Sister thought de Villota had died in Marussia crash

Maria de Villota’s sister has revealed she thought the former Marussia test driver had died in her F1 test crash earlier this year.

Spaniard de Villota has this week given her first interview since recovering from the Duxford straightline testing crash that cost her an eye. She told Hola! magazine that she will probably endure “years” of headaches and has lost her sense of taste and smell.

Sister Isabel revealed that she was the first to arrive at the crash scene after de Villota’s helmet struck a transporter’s loading ramp.

“I tried to pull the car from underneath (the transporter) and started screaming, which is when the mechanics came. They separated me from the car and no longer let me return to where Maria was. I kept asking ‘Is she dead?’ and they told me they didn’t know.

“I threw myself down on the track and began to pray, and after the agonising minutes when she was unconscious, someone said ‘She’s moving’. I just thought ‘Thank god’.”

De Villota terrified when she saw her injuries

Maria de Villota has revealed she was “terrified” when she saw her facial injuries for the first time.

Marussia’s female test driver was critically injured when the front of her helmet struck the loading ramp of a transporter during a straightline aerodynamic test earlier this year. She has now spoken for the first time since the accident, giving an interview to the Spanish weekly magazine Hola!
The magazine featured de Villota, with short cropped hair and wearing an eye-patch over her lost right eye, on the cover.

“The first day I looked in the mirror, I had 104 stitches on my face, coloured black and seemingly sewn with nautical rope, and I had lost my right eye. I was terrified,” she said in Spanish.

But de Villota insisted: “I have won this race, because I’m alive.”

Spanish media reports say de Villota remembers everything about the crash, will reveal the details during a press conference on Thursday, and is not ruling out an eventual return to racing.

“Now I have only one eye I perceive more things than before,” she told Hola! “Before, my life was a race against time, but now I see that you have to stop and measure things differently.”

The magazine said she is set to undergo two more operations; one for a skull injury and another to rebuild the eye area. She said she still suffers headaches.

“I lost this eye for a reason,” she insists. “Something in life is waiting for me — I am sure.”


De Villota to make first appearance since injury

Maria de Villota will on Thursday make her first public appearance since losing an eye in a formula one test crash in early July.

Spain’s Europa Press news agency said the 32-year-old former Marussia test driver will update the world about her recovery from the serious accident during a press conference in Madrid to also be attended by Spanish motor racing federation chief Carlos Gracia.

De Villota walks into Spanish eye clinic

A Spanish publication has spotted a walking and apparently well Maria de Villota entering an outpatient clinic in Spain this week.

After 17 days in a UK hospital, and several more days in hospital in her native Madrid, the 32-year-old finally went home last week. La Nueva Espana now reports that, almost a full month since her horror Duxford testing crash, de Villota was seen visiting the Instituto Oftalmologico Fernandez-Vega – an eye specialist clinic – in Oviedo, Spain.

The report said she arrived in a black Mercedes with members of her family, with her hair shaved after several recent operations. La Nueva Espana said wounds were clearly visible, as was a blue eye patch.

The report said video and photographs of de Villota leaving the car and entering the clinic were taken, but they are not being published “at the request of the family”.


De Villota leaves hospital in Spain

Maria de Villota has checked out of a Madrid hospital.

Last week, Marussia’s 32-year-old test driver was transferred from a Cambridge hospital to her native Madrid, 17 days after suffering horror injuries in a straightline aerodynamic test. After a six-day stay, she then finally went home on Tuesday, La Paz hospital confirmed. The media statement said de Villota has not incurred brain damage.

“The patient is in good general condition, so she was discharged from hospital yesterday,” said the Spanish hospital.

La Paz added that the hospital’s plastic, neurology and eye departments will follow up their treatments.


Marussia to conclude de Villota crash caused by ‘mistakes’

Marussia is tipped to reveal in the coming days that Maria de Villota’s test crash was the result of a “chain of unfortunate circumstances and mistakes”.

The team recently insisted that, following an internal investigation, a failure of the 2012 car had been ruled out as the cause of the incident. Spaniard de Villota, 32, is currently in a Madrid hospital, having spent 17 days in a Cambridge (UK) hospital recovering from severe head and facial injuries that required the amputation of an eye.

“We’re now 100 per cent confident that the car was not to blame in the slightest,” team boss John Booth said at Hockenheim last weekend.

An external investigation is now underway, but Booth warned that it will be a “very long process”. In the meantime, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said Marussia is planning to release “within the next ten days” a further report about the circumstances leading up to de Villota’s impact with a stationary truck. The report said the finding will depict a “chain of unfortunate circumstances and mistakes” that led to the front of her helmet striking the truck loading ramp.

Auto Motor und Sport said de Villota’s trajectory from the Duxford runway to the temporary pits included a curve, resulting in her struggling to find the clutch lever as the steering wheel was not in the normal 9 and 3 o’clock position. Spaniard de Villota had reportedly already forgotten to push the neutral button, and with cold tyres and brakes then struggled to stop the car as the 750hp engine powered it forwards in a low gear. A role may also have been played by “panic”, or “doing the wrong thing at the wrong moment”, the German publication added.


De Villota thanks fans in hand-written note

Injured Marussia test driver Maria de Villota has hand-written a note of thanks to her supporters.

News of the short letter, which was hand-written in Spanish and published by sports newspapers, came after it emerged the 32-year-old has finally returned to her native Spain after 17 days in a British hospital. Diario Sport said de Villota was immediately checked into a Madrid hospital upon arrival by plane.

“Maria gets better every minute and we hope that if things continue as they are, she can go home next week,” her father and former F1 driver Emilio de Villota is quoted as saying.

The hand-written letter can be seen at:


Carlos Gracia criticises Marussia after de Villota crash

Carlos Gracia, the highest-ranking Spanish motor racing official, has criticised Marussia after the team implied Maria de Villota’s recent testing accident was her fault.

Without actually saying the crash into a stationary truck during straightline aerodynamic testing was driver error, Marussia recently revealed that an internal investigation showed the car had not failed. Asked how he had digested the statement, Gracia – president of Spain’s sanctioning body and an FIA vice-president – admitted he read it “with some indignation”.

“I think it was not necessary when the (external) investigation is ongoing,” he told AS newspaper. “I see it that they want to shift the responsibility to Maria, but we need to wait if she can recover her memory.

“In any case, even if it was a driving mistake, there was a failure of logistics, when we speak about a truck ramp that acted like a knife. It’s the same as a garage door raised to the height of a driver’s head. That’s a team failure, so there is a responsibility that certainly is not Maria’s.”

Gracia said he doubts a situation with such a grave outcome would have occurred if de Villota was testing for a bigger team.

“I have asked (FIA president) Jean Todt to regulate and ensure minimum safety measures and to consider it for the next World Council. What is clear is that a top team, a Ferrari or McLaren, would have worked more seriously. These modest teams should improve their basic safety,” he said.

Marussia race driver Timo Glock said at Hockenheim that his teammate is “recovering well” from her head and facial injuries, which involved an irreparably damaged right eye.

“The last thing I heard is that she is very stable, talking to her family and the doctors and on the road to recovery,” said the German. “Of course there is still a long way to go, but in the circumstances, she is doing very well,” he is quoted by the SID news agency.