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.