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Villota back behind the wheel

2013-02-27 07:54

CHANGING TIMES: Maria de Villota smiles and waves to photographers ahead of the 2012 F1 GP in Australia when she was a Marussia-Cosworth test-driver. Inset: Maria in February 2013.

MADRID, Spain - Former Formula 1 test driver Maria de Villota, 33, who lost her right eye in a crash in July 2012 says her recuperation has gone as well as she could have expected.

The Spanish driver suffered serious head and face injuries in the crash during testing for the Marussia team for the first time at Duxford Airfield in England. She drove into a support truck in the pits.

"I feel very good," the daughter of former Spanish F1 driver Emilio De Villota said on Feb 27 2013. "The doctors told me it helped that I have never drunk alcohol or smoked and that I was a sportswoman.

DRIVING AGAIN

"I still feel a little weak and have headaches but I am getting on well. Very busy days take their toll but I'm calm because I know everything is going well. To start with it was difficult just to do day-to-day things."

She also revealed that she had taken her first steps towards driving again and that, despite her traumatic experience, she holds no grudge towards Formula 1.

"Last week they gave me permission to return to driving. The distances I can already calculate quite well and it feels like nothing ever happened. At the end of the day my natural habitat is in a car and I am happiest in that environment. I missed it.

"When your life is saved nobody owes you anything. I don't hold any rancour towards the sport. The only thing I want is for the safety in races and tests to be improved.

"I will collaborate with them on what is currently lacking. Moreover, I feel very grateful to all the teams and drivers who have supported me after the accident."

DIFFERENT IN NASCAR

The 33-year-old also confirmed that she would continue to work with the International Automobile Federation to help increase the prominence of female drivers in motorsport. The most recent (Feb 2013) woman to enter the F1 world championship was Italian Giovanna Amati but she failed to qualify for three races at the start of the 1992 season with Brabham.

Five women have entered F1 races, the most prolific being Italian Lella Lombardi, who started 12 grands prix in the 1970's.

Nascar, though, it is a different story. Danica Patrick, 30, made history by becoming the first woman to start from pole in the 2013 Daytona 500. She finished eighth.

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