Horror crash for female F1 driver
F1 HOPEFUL IN TROUBLE: Marussia reports that Maria De Villota has suffered serious injuries and is currently in hospital fighting for her life.
LONDON - Formula 1 driver Maria De Villota suffered serious injuries during a crash while testing for Marussia.
A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service said that De Villota had sustained "life-threatening injuries" during a crash at Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire.
Marussia confirmed in a statement that the 32-year-old test driver had been transferred to hospital after her car collided with a support vehicle during a test lap.
Marussia said: "At approximately 9.15am this morning (July 3), 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."
BBC presenter Chris Mann, who was at the Imperial War Museum-owned airfield for the straight-line test, said the car "inexplicably accelerated" into the back of the team's parked support truck.
Mannsaid: "The driver's helmet was impacted on the side of the truck. It just happened suddenly, a very shocking incident.
"The car slowed down as you see happens during a grand prix, for it to then be reversed into the pits which was actually a tent. But at the last second it just suddenly accelerated again so by the time it hit the truck, it was doing 50 or 60km/h."
Mann said de Villota, was trapped in the car for a considerable amount of time with emergency services attending to her.
"It appeared to me that she wasn't moving for about 10 or 15 minutes. We saw her move her hands after about a quarter of an hour and it took almost an hour for the ambulance (staff) to feel confident to take her out of the car," he said.
De Villota, the daughter of former Spanish F1 driver Emilio De Villota, was given a test drive by Renault in 2011 and has previously raced in the Spanish Formula Three and the Daytona 24 Hours events.
Marussia began racing in 2010 under the Virgin banner. The team rebranded as Marussia in 2012, with Charles Pic driving alongside Timo Glock.
The team has struggled to make any impression on the championship however, failing to score any points in 2012.
As news of the accident has spread, F1 teams and drivers have expressed their concern for de Villota.
Force India team's official Twitter page said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Maria de Villota and everyone at @Marussia_F1Team".
Caterham tweeted: "The reports from Duxford are of real concern and do not sound good. Our thoughts are with all our friends at Marussia and with Maria."