Marussia’s María de Villota loses eye following F1 testing crash

The Banbury (UK) based team confirmed in a media statement that the 32-year-old was in surgery between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning to address “serious head and facial injuries”.

“Maria remains in a critical but stable condition,” said the team.

Boss John Booth said: “It is with great sadness that I must report that, due to the injuries she sustained, Maria has lost her right eye.”

He added that Marussia is conducting a “very comprehensive” investigation into the circumstances of the incident.

Source: GMM

Skull surgery for de Villota after crash

Spanish motor racing chielf Carlos Gracia has said that Maria de Villota is currently undergoing surgery having fractured her skull in Tuesday’s accident.

British newspaper the Mirror has also reported that doctors are currently battling to save the sight in one of de Villota’s eyes after her helmeted head took the brunt of the impact into the side of a lorry loading ramp at the Duxford airfield. German reports say the 32-year-old Spaniard, whose father is the former F1 racer Emilio de Villota, looks set to be transferred from her hospital in Cambridge to a hospital in London, perhaps for further surgery.

But Graeme Lowdon, the Marussia team’s chief executive, is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport as saying the situation “looks a bit better” for de Villota than it did early on Tuesday.

“We are currently waiting for news about how the operation is going, and then we’ll see what part of or if the brain is affected,” high-ranking Spanish FIA official Gracia told Spanish radio Cadena Ser. “I would like to believe that Maria is no longer in danger, but only the doctors can judge that and there are so many conflicting reports — as we know, these things take on a life of their own,” he added.


Gracia calls for ‘prudence and respect’ for de Villota

Spain’s motor racing federation has vowed to help get to the bottom of the incident involving seriously injured female test driver Maria de Villota. But Carlos Gracia, president of the RFEdA, expressed caution in light of rampant speculation following the 32-year-old Spaniard’s impact with a team truck whilst ‘straightline testing’ Marussia’s 2012 car in the UK on Tuesday.

De Villota is currently in hospital with reportedly “severe facial and head injuries”.

Amid some reports she was fighting for her life and unconscious for a long time after the morning incident, Marussia confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that di Villota was conscious in hospital.

“Right now, the only important thing is the health status of Maria, and in this sense we call for the greatest prudence and respect,” Gracia told the Spanish sports newspaper AS. “We have heard lots of things in the last hours but there should not be speculation about something so serious.”

Reports in Spain said de Villota underwent emergency surgery for a skull injury, thereafter regaining consciousness and the ability to move her limbs.

“I have direct information from the family and now we can only say that it will take longer before we have an accurate forecast,” Gracia added. He did reveal, however, that his officials have already commenced efforts to understand the circumstances of Tuesday’s accident.

“We have asked the FIA to open up all the information to know what has happened in this test,” he said. “We also want the Marussia team to offer its version of events,” added Gracia.

“I insist that now the main thing is Maria’s recovery, but we also need to know what has happened, especially for the necessary measures so that something like this is not repeated.”

Writing in the Telegraph, Tom Cary repeated speculation that the incident was caused by inexperienced di Villota being caught out by the Marussia’s anti-stall system. But another British journalist, the Times’ Kevin Eason, said the crash had “baffled Marussia team executives”.

He also said de Villota “was well enough last night” to phone her father Emilio, a former F1 driver.


Marussia says de Villota ‘conscious’

Marussia was cautious on Tuesday afternoon amid media reports test driver Maria de Villota is fighting for her life in hospital.

The 32-year-old Spanish female driver crashed this morning into the side of a loading ramp of a team truck whilst conducting straightline aerodynamic testing in the team’s 2012 car at Duxford airfield. Reports have said de Villota’s head and facial injuries are life-threatening.

“A woman has sustained life threatening injuries and following treatment at the scene by paramedics, she has been taken to Addenbrookes Hospital for further care,” an ambulance spokesman is quoted as saying by Bloomberg news agency.

But Marussia on Tuesday afternoon said only that de Villota is receiving the “best medical attention possible”.

“Maria is conscious and medical assessments are ongoing,” said the team. “The team will await the outcome of these assessments before providing further comment. The team’s first priority at this time is Maria and her family,” Marussia added.

On Twitter, former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld said he had heard a “rumour she (de Villota) already spoke to (her) family”.


Marussia’s María de Villota injured during F1 high-speed test at Duxford

Marussia’s test-driver Maria de Villota is said to have ‘life threatening injuries’ following an accident during testing at Duxford Aerodrome. The 32 year old is said to have crashed into the ramp of a team-trailer at 9:15am this morning. She had just completed her installation lap in preparation for the two day test at the Cambridgeshire venue.

Chris Mann, a correspondent for BBC Cambridgeshire witnessed the crash. “The car suddenly accelerated into the big truck and there was a sort of board down, like a loading board, and the car went careering into the side of that, probably only 20 to 30 mph at that point…they called, as I understand, for an air ambulance to come in, but there is obviously the site ambulance here”. He later added, “from where I was standing it looked like the helmet took the brunt of the impact”.

In a statement the East of England Ambulance Service said, “a woman has been taken to hospital with serious injuries following an earlier road traffic collision this morning, Tuesday, July 3.”

“The East of England Ambulance Service were alerted to Duxford Imperial Museum at 9.17am. An ambulance, a duty mamager and MAGPAS attended the scene.”

A spokesman for the Ambulance Service, Gary Sanderson, said: “A woman has sustained life threatening injuries and following treatment at the scene by paramedics, she has been taken to Addenbrookes Hospital for further care.”

At 10:45am the Marussia F1 Team issued the following statement:

“At approximately 09.15hrs BST this morning, the Marussia F1 Team’s Test Driver Maria De Villota had an accident in the team’s MR-01 race car at Duxford Airfield where she was testing the car for the first time. The accident happened at the end of her first installation run and involved an impact with the team’s support truck.”

“Maria has been transferred to hospital. Once her medical condition has been assessed a further statement will be issued.”

According to the BBC, the Emergency medical charity Magpas who treated and transported Villota to Addenbrookes for treatment, have said she sustained  “facial and head injuries” but was in a stable condition on arrival to hospital.

Duxford Aerodrome is a former World War Two base, now home of the Imperial War Museum, and used by modern day F1 teams to conduct high-speed testing using it’s longer 1,503m runway.

We’ll continue to update this article as we learn more. Meanwhile, all our thoughts are with Maria and we wish her a full and speedy recovery.

Forum discussion –
East of England Ambulance Service – Statement
Statement from Marussia F1 Team
BBC’s Chris Mann on accident


Last updated – 13:03pm 03/07/2012

De Villota not ruling out Friday drive

Maria de Villota is not ruling out appearing during a Friday morning practice session some time in 2012.

The 32-year-old Spaniard made international headlines in March when she signed with Marussia as a test driver. She subsequently admitted, however, that – despite travelling to all the grands prix with the former Virgin team this year – she is “not the reserve driver”.

De Villota, whose father Emilio is a former F1 driver, also clarified in March that she is not contracted to practice on Friday mornings. But she is not ruling it out now.

“It depends on the team,” she told the Spanish news agency EFE. “I am trying to do all my duties well so that they are happy with me. And I think they are,” said de Villota.

“But the car is new and the drivers need the miles to develop it. So it’s up to the team (to decide). Hopefully it will happen soon, but what happens this year will happen. There may be surprises, but for now I am getting to do a lot of work in the simulator.”

Meanwhile, she made a bold prediction when asked which team she tips to win the so-far unpredictable 2012 championship.

“I think that McLaren is very strong,” said de Villota.

The last female driver to take part in official grand prix sessions was the Italian Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify for three races in 1992.