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Villota lost eye in F1 crash

2012-07-05 08:16

TRAGEDY FOR RACING BEAUTY: Marussia's Spanish test driver Maria de Villota has lost her right eye after a crash despite all-night surgery in the UK.

ALAN BALDWIN

London, England - Marussia's Spanish test driver Maria de Villota has lost her right eye and remains critically injured in hospital after surgery for face and head injuries, her Formula 1 team has said.

De Villota crashed while driving the car for the first time on Tuesday in a straight-line test at Duxford airfield in eastern of England ahead of this weekend's British F1 GP.
After completing one run and returning to the mechanics, her car suddenly accelerated into and under the back of a team truck with the 32-year-old's helmet taking much of the impact.

ALL-NIGHT OPERATION

Team principal John Booth said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that I must report that, due to the injuries she sustained, Maria has lost her right eye."

Marussia said surgeons at Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital had embarked on a lengthy operation that began on Tuesday afternoon and kept the driver in theatre until Wednesday morning.

"Maria remains in a critical but stable condition," the team said. De Villota's family was with her at the hospital.

She is the daughter of former F1 racer Emilio De Villota and was appointed test driver of Marussia in March 2012, making her the only woman in such a role at the time although Williams has since handed a similar development role to Suzie Wolff.

The Spaniard has raced in various series and tried out a Renault F1 car in August 2011.

Marussia's race regulars are German driver Timo Glock, who missed the last GP in Valencia through illness, and Frenchman Charles Pic. The British-based team, formerly known as Virgin Racing, has not scored a point since its F1 debut in 2010, and has no reserve driver. De Villota lacked the necessary super-licence for the role.

Booth said the team had embarked on "a very comprehensive analysis of what happened and this work continues for the moment".

He added that Marussia had been overwhelmed by messages of support for De Villota, her family and the team.

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