Marussia test driver loses eye after crash

July 5th, 2012 - 5:37 am ICT by IANS  

London, July 4 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Marussia test driver Maria deVillota has lost her right eye after a crash while testing its Formula One car, the team said Wednesday.

De Villota was hospitalised with serious head and facial injuries after ramming into an articulated truck following an installation lap at Duxford airfield in Britain Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Spaniard emerged from overnight surgery Wednesday, team principal John Booth was quoted as saying on its website.

“It is with great sadness that I must report that, due to the injuries she sustained, Maria has lost her right eye,” he said.

The cause of the accident is not yet clear, though speculation has swirled that the car’s anti-stall mechanism kicked in as de Villota was slowing down, inadvertently throwing the car forward and into the truck.

“With regard to the accident, we have embarked on a very comprehensive analysis of what happened and this work continues for the moment,” Booth said.

There was no information on any recovery time frame.

“Maria’s care and the well-being of her family remain our priority at this time. Her family are at the hospital and we are doing everything possible to support them.”

De Villota was due to carry out a straight-line aerodynamics test on the Duxford runway.

Strict rules govern the amount of on-track testing F1 teams can do, although the rules are looser for straight-line aerodynamic tests, which typically take place on airfield runways.

De Villota’s father Emilio competed in three F1 races in the 1970s, while she has competed in series such as Formula Palmer Audi and Spanish Formula Three, which have traditionally served as routes to Formula One for young drivers.

She tested a Renault F1 car at the Paul Ricard circuit in France last year.

British-based Marussia was formerly known as Virgin Racing until Russian supercar manufacturer Marussia bought a controlling stake last year.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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