F1 test driver’s family thankful for love and support

THE family of a Formula One test driver who lost her right eye in an accident at Duxford Airfield say they have been “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of love and support from across the globe.

Maria de Villota, 32, remains in a critical but stable condition at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, after undergoing extensive surgery following a test track crash on Tuesday (July 3) which left her with “serious head and facial injuries”.

In a statement, the family said they were supporting each other at the 32-year-old Spanish racing driver’s side and were taking “great comfort from the remarkable medical care she has been receiving”.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Isabel De Villota, Maria’s sister, said: “While there is no further news at present, we have at least been able to take encouragement from the fact Maria has remained stable throughout since the accident, particularly during the first night following such a lengthy surgical procedure as she experienced yesterday.

“We remain positive and this is due, in no small part, to the overwhelming expression of love and support for Maria from every corner of the world.

“We would also wish to thank everyone at the Marussia F1 Team for all the care and attention they have shown us over the past few days.”

De Villota was performing straight line testing on the air strip for F1 team Marussia but completed only one run before careering into a lorry tail lift.

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She had been travelling at speeds of up to 200mph before the collision but is though to have crashed at around 20-30mph as she was coming into the temporary pit area.

Ambulance service spokesman Gary Sanderson described her injuries as “life threatening” on Tuesday but Marussia revealed on Wednesday she was in a “critical but stable condition”.

The incident sparked an influx of support from Formula One drivers ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button said their thoughts were with Maria and her family, while compatriot Fernando Alonso tweeted: “More support than ever to my colleague Maria de Villota! Want to give you all the energy in the world. We are close to you!”

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive visited the test track at Duxford on Wednesday after police informed them about the incident.