Get Well Soon Maria

Yesterday was a terrible day for motoring fans as the news that Marussia test driver Maria de Villota had crashed and carried on to hospital while testing in a private venue. Maria, the Spaniard, is one of the two women drivers signed up to test in Formula One; other being Susie Wolff.

The Imperial Museum owned private testing facility in Cambridgeshire was all set for Marussia to test giving Villota her first chance at MR-01. The Oxfordshire based team initially signed Maria from Renault where she was introduced to the world of Formula One. She is the daughter of former Grand Prix driver Emilio de Villota who drove for RAM and March among others.

At Paul Ricard last year, she had her first run in 2009-spec Renault F1 car and clocked around 200 miles. She filled up the reserve role for Marussia this March and hadn’t run even during pre-season testing times. Marussia acknowledged to let her have a go in the young drivers’ testing programme scheduled for later this year in Abu Dhabi.

Marussia were looking to gain some pace ahead of their home race in Britain at Duxford airfield and Maria was given the task of straight line speed testing. After the first installation lap she pulled over in front of her mechanics and was about to wheeled into the Marussia tent but her car accelerated bizarrely and hit the side of a stationary transporter at nearly 30-40 mph in no time.

The car was impacted heavily to its side and wedged under the truck until the paramedics came and instant treatment was availed to her and soon taken to the nearby Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The reason to the incident is anybody’s guess and police investigation is ongoing at the accident site.

The whole F1 fraternity awaited to hear about further condition of Maria which was described to be ‘life-threatening’. She wavered her hand barely few minutes after the crash and believed to have sustained facial and head injuries. The good news so far was that she regained consciousness and remains stable  but unfortunately Booth revealed she lost her right eye.

John Booth, Team Principal of the Marussia F1 Team, read as saying:

“Maria emerged from theatre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital this morning after a lengthy operation to address the serious head and facial injuries she received in the accident at Duxford Airfield yesterday.

“We are grateful for the medical attention that Maria has been receiving and her family would like to thank the Neurological and Plastics surgical teams. However it is with great sadness that I must report that, due to the injuries she sustained, Maria has lost her right eye after the operation.

“Maria’s care and the well being of her family remain our priority at this time. Her family are at the hospital and we are doing everything possible to support them.

“We ask for everyone’s patience and understanding with regard to updates on Maria’s condition. We will provide further information when it is appropriate to do so and with consideration for her family.

“In the meantime, we would all like to take this opportunity to praise the emergency services at Duxford Airfield, who were on stand-by yesterday, as is usual procedure for a Formula One test.

“With regard to the accident, we have embarked on a very comprehensive analysis of what happened and this work continues for the moment.

“Finally, we have been overwhelmed by messages of support for Maria, her family and the Team and we would like to express our sincere gratitude for those.”

Drivers, fans and other F1 personnel wished well to Maria; all my deep thoughts are with her and her family GWS !!! I’ll post further on her medical update as soon as I get one.

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4 thoughts on “Get Well Soon Maria

  1. Well, losing an eye is probably the end of her racing career but that’s a relatively small price to pay for a life. They really need to figure out what’s happened because even in the pits, at any proper circuit an F1 car can hit mechanics and staff. Pit lane’s a dangerous place to be, just as any place close to fast cars.

    Anyway, testing at airfields is not safe, F1 should go back to basics – closed testing facility, an FIA-approved racing circuit where incidents can be minimized.

    A speedy recovery, obviously, to MdeV.

    • Yeah right, in terms of safety anything could go wrong with these cars and the crew working around it so private testing has its own dangers and it’d be back like olden days. Beyond all that she doesn’t hold any super-license and has minimal success in her racing career. If it was to blame on her then Marussia should be blamed in the first hand.

      • An odd decision from Marussia to hire MdeV indeed, although she did have a decent test with Lotus from Enstone last year (according to the press), albeit at a normal racing track. Best wait for a team statement on the incident, normally they explain things after a while.

        Shame Virgin name disappeared, I kinda preferred the original team concept from 2010, think they had more appeal back then. I did some interviews with CSC at the time, very friendly guys.

        Good thing helmets are so strong nowadays, Burti wasn’t so lucky at the time of his Spa incident in 2001, I think he said a modern helmet could’ve done a better job. Probably you’ll never rule out the element of risk in motor racing, I suppose you just gotta be reasonable and create an environment where there’s a balance. Rallying world seems to be even more dangerous than single-seaters at the moment, not to mention bikes. I mean, there’s a good chance of getting killed at any big cycling event. I blame it on the lack of psychological preparation, sport is now presented in a more glamorous way than ever. People lose the sense of reality.

      • Virgin partnered with Brawn in 2009 so naturally when they entered on their own big expectations laid on their shoulders but as we know they are just another team looking to hang on at the back. When Marussia bought controlled stakes I thought there was something coming along but it wasn’t that much albeit pairing with Mclaren to use their technology was a good move. Team’s hopes at this weekend are shaken up by the incident so hopefully I think they will comeback well soon. The element of risk and people getting killed are synonymous with motor racing we cant avoid that but it can be minimised like the safety rules we have in f1 which has to implemented while testing outside the track also. WRC and Motorbike racing are twice dangerous than F1 but there is always room for improvement ….

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