Spanish former Formula 1 test driver Maria de Villota has been found dead in a hotel room in Spain. She was 33 years old.
De Villota was the daughter of former Formula 1 driver Emilio de Villota and was targeting a race seat in F1 when she suffered a massive accident in July 2012. At the time, de Villota was conducting a straight-line test for Marussia at Duxford Aerodrome in the United Kingdom. She crashed into a stationary truck and sustained serious head injuries which resulted in the loss of her right eye.
In the year and three months since her accident, de Villota had been recuperating and was interested in promoting safety in motorsport.
Maria de Villota was scheduled to appear in Seville in the next few days for the purpose of promoting her autobiography, Life Is a Gift.
The cause of her death has not yet been revealed.
De Villota’s family has released the following statement on social media today: “Dear friends: Maria has left us. She had to go to heaven like all the angels. We thank God for the extra year and a half he left her with us.”