On Tuesday, Maria De Villota crashed in the Marussia MR-01 during testing, as a result of which she was rushed to hospital in critical condition. It has since been confirmed that she has lost her right eye. Having followed the Marussia team’s press releases and the social media reaction, I have been struck by two key features of motorsport.
Firstly, the accident confirms what we all know, but often conveniently forget: Motorsport is dangerous. Accidents happen, and the consequences can be serious. Every racing driver knows the risks involved, and some are unfortunate enough to be injured doing what they love. When Maria got into her F1 car on Tuesday morning she would not have expected to finish the day in hospital, but such a dramatic turn of events is the result of taking part in an inherently dangerous sport.
Secondly, and more importantly, the motorsport community is made up of people with genuine affection and concern for each other. Racing is competitive – sometimes to the point of generating conflict between teams and drivers – But there is a softer side to the sport, and this week it came out in full force. Twitter was flooded with messages of support for Maria, her family and the Marussia team. The messages came from teams, drivers and officials in Formula One, as well as racing fans and colleagues throughout the world. The Marussia team’s most recent statement included the following: “…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.”
Although the accident was a shocking reminder of the risks involved in racing, it resulted in an inspirational display of the unity in the motorsport community. The support will doubtless continue as Maria recovers.
Marussia F1 team issued the following update this afternoon regarding test driver Maria De Villota after her crash during testing yesterday morning:
Further to the accident at Duxford Airfield yesterday involving the Marussia F1 Team Test Driver, Maria De Villota, the Team can now provide a further update on Maria’s medical condition.
Subsequent to yesterday’s official statements from the Marussia F1 Team, the surgical team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge embarked on a lengthy procedure to address the serious head and facial injuries sustained by Maria in the accident. The operation began yesterday afternoon and she was in theatre until this morning. Maria remains in a critical but stable condition.
John Booth, Team Principal of the Marussia F1 Team, with the consent and support of Maria’s family, would like to give the following update, which provides as much detail as is possible at this time:
“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.
“Maria’s care and the wellbeing 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.”
The Marussia F1 team has released a statement regarding Maria De Villota after this morning’s testing crash. The statement reads as follows:
“Further to the accident involving the Marussia F1 Team’s Test Driver Maria De Villota this morning, the team can confirm that Maria was transferred by ambulance from Duxford Airfield, where the accident happened, to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
“Since Maria’s arrival at the hospital at approximately 10:45 this morning, she has been receiving the best medical attention possible at the hospital, which is the region’s major trauma centre. Maria is conscious and medical assessments are ongoing. 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.”
After crashing into a team support truck during an aero test this morning, Marussia test driver Maria De Villota was rushed to hospital with life-threatening head and face injuries. On arrival in hospital, she was reportedly critical but stable.
The latest news filtering through the media is that Maria is conscious in hospital and has spoken with her family. No further information is yet available regarding her condition.
More to follow as news becomes available.
Marussia test driver Maria De Villota is believed to be seriously injured after an accident in testing this morning. The crash occurred at the start of a 2-day aero test, one of the few ways in which F1 teams are permitted to test during the season.
The team released 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.”
Maria’s injuries have now been confirmed as life-threatening by an East of England Ambulance Service spokesperson who stated: “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.”
More to follow as the story unfolds.