Injured F1 test driver returns to Spain to continue recovery

A FORMULA One test driver who lost her right eye in a crash at Duxford Airfield has returned home to Spain to continue her recovery.

Maria De Villota was left with serious head and facial injuries when the Marussia Formula One car she was driving collided with the tail section of a lorry three weeks ago.

The 32-year-old Spaniard was making her test debut for the Marussia F1 team and had just completed her first straight line run when the accident happened on July 3.

She endured a series of lengthy operations at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and was flown back to Spain last Friday, the Marussia F1 team confirmed.

A team spokesman said: “Over the course of the past two weeks, Maria has made significant progress. More comfortable and familiar surroundings, plus the support of her wider family and friends, will undoubtedly provide a more conducive environment in which Maria can commence the next phase of her recovery.

“The Marussia F1 Team have remained in close contact with the medical team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital since Maria’s admittance and would like to express their gratitude for the remarkable care and attention that she has received there.”

“The staff, race drivers Timo Glock and Charles Pic, and all those associated with the team - wish Maria well with the next stage of her recovery.”

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Last Monday (July 16), Marussia issued a statement ruling out mechanical failure as a cause of the crash. The team carried out an internal investigation and shared the findings with the Health and Safety Executive as part of its ongoing examination into what happened.

De Villota had been travelling at speeds of up to 200mph before the accident but is thought to have crashed at around 20-30mph when she was coming into a make shift pit area.

Shortly after the collision ambulance service spokesman Gary Sanderson described the driver’s injuries as “life threatening”.