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GP Week : Issue 171
EDITOR: Adam Hay-Nicholls email@example.com ASSISTANT EDITOR: Kate Walker F1 ANALYST: Peter Windsor MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott firstname.lastname@example.org RALLY EDITOR: Martin Holmes email@example.com STAFF WRITER: Adam Leveridge PRODUCTION ARTIST: Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHY: Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Emily Davenport PUBLISHER: Chris Lambden email@example.com PUBLISHED BY: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton email@example.com n Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org n SE Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) email@example.com .com WEEK F1 >>> NEWS While the focus of Formula One was in the Far East, with back-to-back races in Japan and South Korea, one paddock face was making news in Spain. Injured Marussia test driver Maria de Villota spoke publicly for the first time about the July testing accident that took her right eye. “I remember everything – even the moment of the impact,” de Villota said in an exclusive interview with personal sponsors Hola!, the Spanish version of Hello! magazine. “When I woke up everybody was around me and they didn’t even know if I was going to speak, or how I was going to speak. I started speaking in English because I thought I was on an FIA check-up and that the nurse was a trainer. Then my dad said ‘Please, Maria, speak Spanish, because your mother is missing half the things’, and then I became aware of everything: of what had happened, where I was and why.” In a specially convened Madrid press conference that took place after the publication of the Hola! interview, the Marussia test driver reflected on her change in perspective since her accident at the Duxford aerodrome. “One of the surgeons who had operated on me came up to me and said ‘Maria, we saved your life,’” de Villota recalled. “’I don’t know if you remember: you had a big accident, but you are here with us. It’s been hard, but we are happy we saved your life. But we need to tell you [that] you have lost your eye.’ “In that moment, I asked the surgeon: ‘Do you need both hands to operate?’ and he said yes, and I said ‘Well, I’m a Formula One driver and I need both eyes.’ And I told the poor man that it was my decision [to remove the eye], as if the poor man had a choice to do something. “But then you realise it is something unprecedented, that you are feeling fine, and you realise that you see more than before. Because, before the accident, I only saw Formula One, inside a car, competing, and I didn’t see what was really important in life. “At that point I wasn’t appreciating the biggest thing, which was the person who had saved me. So this eye has made me find the way again and I’m seeing it that way. And this new opportunity? I’m going to live it at 100 percent.” The after-effects of de Villota’s accident are varied and far-reaching – the Spanish driver is currently suffering regular headaches that doctors say could persist for years. Her vision is not the only sense to have been affected by the crash: “I have to control my efforts a lot because of the cranial pressure,” de Villota told Hola!. “I have also lost smell, and taste, which is linked to smell. Now I like things with a very strong taste.” What was perhaps most impressive about de Villota’s assessment of her post-accident life was her pragmatism: “The accident has given me a new perspective about life, about the things that matter,” she confessed. “It has taught me that to achieve what you want you have to educate yourself in sacrifice through effort. Now I have just one eye maybe I perceive more things than before. Before this, my life was a race against the clock, and now I see you have to stop and measure things in a different way. “What I'm wondering now is if my future is being a racing driver or if there’s something else I have to do with my life. I still don't know what I need to do. “We all want to see if there are lessons to learn from what happened, so we can avoid accidents like that in the future. My intention is to help with a view to the future, improve safety, especially in aero tests, because at the circuits everything is under control, but not in this kind of test.” MARIA DE VILLOTA REFLECTS ON HORROR CRASH 5 GPWEEK.com // 5 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: