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GP Week : Issue 161
The Formula One world was shocked last week when it emerged that Marussia test driver Maria de Villota had been seriously injured during her first day behind the wheel of the MR01. Marussia had organised a straight-line aerodynamic test for their 32-year-old test driver; it was to be the first of three such tests for the Spanish racer this season. But after successfully completing her first run of the day, de Villota was involved in a freak accident in the pits, the cause of which is still being investigated. As the result of the accident, de Villota lost her right eye. Asked to provide what details he could, Marussia team principal John Booth said that his hands were tied, but that a full investigation was under way. “I cannot [give you details],” Booth said. “Not yet. Unlike in some other countries, there are very strict procedures in England. What happened must not only be examined by the team but also by the authorities.” Since the accident on Tuesday morning de Villota has undergone multiple hours of intensive surgery at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. If there is any silver lining to be found in her accident, it is the fact that the crash site at Duxford is very close to one of the UK’s top neurological centres, putting de Villota in the hands of some of the country’s best surgeons. One of the surgeons who operated on de Villota during her first round of overnight surgery between Tuesday and Wednesday also works at the Silverstone medical centre, and is experienced at dealing with traumatised racing drivers. Teams, drivers, and F1 officials have all expressed their support for de Villota following the shocking accident, which is being put down to incredible bad luck. “It was so incredibly unfortunate,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting – who has been instrumental in the FIA’s push to improve driver safety – told Spanish newspaper Marca in the Silverstone paddock. “I think that if Felipe’s accident was one in a million, then Maria’s was one in five million. The circumstances were just so unique that it was just incredible bad luck.” On Sunday it emerged that de Villota was conscious and talking to her family. While the team has yet to provide a further update on the health of their driver, it is believed she is making a slow but steady improvement. MARIA DE VILLOTA’S CONDITION IMPROVING SLOWLY EDITOR: Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT EDITORS: Naoise Holohan, Kate Walker F1 ANALYST: Peter Windsor MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott email@example.com RALLY EDITOR: Martin Holmes firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION ARTIST: Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHY: Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton email@example.com: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Emily Davenport PUBLISHER: Chris Lambden firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHED BY: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge email@example.com Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org n Gaye Grinsted (WRC/MotoGP) email@example.com Ph: +44 (0) 207 254 8796 Mob: +44 (0) 7921 283 070 n Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org n SE Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) email@example.com .com WEEK 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS