Marussia driver Maria de Villota injured in test crash

2012 F1 season

Maria de Villota, Marussia, Duxford, 2012Marussia test driver Maria de Villota has been injured in a crash while testing the car today.

The team were running at Duxford Aerodrome in Cambridgeshire when de Villota’s car struck a stationary vehicle belonging to the team.

Eyewitnesses said the crash happened after de Villota had completed a run and was returning to the car preparation area.

Her condition was initially described as “life-threatening”, but the air ambulance charity that recovered her later confirmed she was “stable”.

Marussia issued the following statement: “At approximately 09:15 BST this morning, the Marussia F1 Team?s test driver Maria De Villota had an accident in the team?s MR01 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.”

De Villota, daughter of former F1 driver Emilio de Villota, joined the team as test driver in March this year.

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117 comments on Marussia driver Maria de Villota injured in test crash

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  1. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 3rd July 2012, 10:38

    Sounds like a nasty incident. Here’s hoping her injuries are not too serious.

  2. Eggry (@eggry) said on 3rd July 2012, 10:39

    Unbelievable incident. It seems like it should be technical glitch.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 3rd July 2012, 10:42

      Based on the reports of the accident, it’s a weird one. It doesn’t look like driver error – it’s probably a mechanical fault.

    • Wallbreaker (@wallbreaker) said on 3rd July 2012, 10:42

      Indeed. Can´t imagine happening such a weird crash by driver’s fault. It was a straight-line aero test, wasn´t it?

    • Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 3rd July 2012, 12:54

      At first it sounded like an innocent low speed shunt, but as details come out it’s starting to sound more and more serious. Reports are that her helmet took the brunt of the impact, which is very worrying.
      The anti-stall theory reported by Racecar Engineering magazine does sound very plausible, but I think it’s probably best to wait for a further comment from Marussia.
      All of F1F’s thoughts go out to her and her family.

  3. Mark (@marlarkey) said on 3rd July 2012, 10:46

    Sounds like a bizarre incident… and serious too…. I hope she’s ok

  4. KiwiUK (@kiwiuk) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:08

    Strangely Sky’s report doesn’t seem to mention accelerating in to the lorry but rather locking the rears “De Villota crashed into a stationary vehicle after locking up her rear-tyres and losing control of the Marussia whilst returning to the pits”

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:13

      locking up REAR tyres? I don’t know the car can be out of control with it. as far as I know front locking makes serious problem

      • Helgi said on 3rd July 2012, 11:23

        In fact rear tyres locking is more dangerous, as every little force can throw the car in any direction. Front tyres locking leaves a chance to go straight even if some force is acting from the side.

    • Drop Valencia! said on 3rd July 2012, 11:43

      I’ts impossible for a driver to lock the rears in a modern F1 car, so it must have been a mechanical fault. Either that or she was trying to park.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 3rd July 2012, 13:43

      I doubt you can lock your rears at such a low speed. She saw the lorry, clearly it wasn’t her fault. It was unexpected.

      • Shaun Robinson (@robinsonf1) said on 3rd July 2012, 17:13

        You can lock at any speed if you apply enough force through the brakes. Even easier at low speeds when you consider the friction equation F=<uR. At low speeds R (reaction force, or weight) on each wheel is reduced from there being little downforce produced, so the limit of grip is considerably lower. Add in the factor that u (coefficient of static friction) was reduced from it raining and it makes it all too easy to lock up. Remember Glock spinning the Marussia around 360 degrees in the pitlane? – just like that.

  5. disjunto (@disjunto) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:14

    BBC reporting very serious, life-threatening injuries. hopefully all is well, fingers crossed

  6. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:17

    Wow, sounds like a very strange incident. Here’s hoping she makes a full recovery.

  7. wigster (@wigster) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:20

    The BBC are saying she has life threatening injuries. sounds very worrying. Just hope she’s going to be ok. Sounds like something must have gone very wrong for an accident like this to happen at a straight line test though.

  8. robk23 (@robk23) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:29

    I almost went to Duxford this morning, such a shame to hear about this. Best wishes to Maria and the team.

  9. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:29

    Just seen this on the BBC. Doesn’t sound good, does it? I desperately hope she’s okay, as we all do.

  10. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:30

    I really hope Maria pulls through. This is a horrible feeling.

  11. I fear for her, reading the reports and hearing the audio report i fear for her life.

    If the loading tray was partially (just above cockpit level) down and she hit this…. Not religious, but my thoughts are with her

  12. davidwhite (@davidwhite) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:37

    Terrible news. Surely some sort of technical failure? Let’s all hope she pulls through.

  13. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:48

    Oh, my. Hope she gets through this… sounds like a really nasty and weird accident.

  14. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:50

    Racecar Engineering is speculating that the accident may have been caused by driver error when the anti-stall engaged.

  15. the_narv (@the_narv) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:51

    Terrible news. Racecar Engineering thinks she may have been caught out by the anti-stall:

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 3rd July 2012, 11:53

      That could explain it, actually. They’ll be a full investigation, so we’ll know what happened eventually.

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 3rd July 2012, 12:09

      Many commented when her involvement was announced that they didn’t think she was up to the standard of driving an F1 car. This is a horrible accident going by what has been reported so far and if Racecar Engineering’s supposition about being caught out by the anti-stall is accurate, then it would be a terrible case of prophecy.

      At this stage, nobody outside the team can probably say with any certainty what might have happened. Let’s all just hope she’s ok in the end and that the helmet improvements did their job here.

      • celeste (@celeste) said on 3rd July 2012, 14:05

        I think many in here, me included, doubt her experience and qualifications to be a test driver for F1 Team. Is the accident is somehow related to little experience or qualifications,is something that teams should take in to account when selecting a test driver…

        However, hopefully soon tegamos positive news about her health, and Marussia and the FIA ​​can find out that the accident was due.

        • F1 needs more women said on 3rd July 2012, 15:11

          Let’s not forget that even the most experienced F1 drivers can be guilty of making the most basic driver errors – we see this during the races. I feel insulted for her that people are bringing her ability into question.

          What we should be questioning here is, not how test drivers are selected, but why on earth there was a lorry in such close proximity and no barriers in place? This is precisely why the ridiculous constraints on testing should be lifted and tests should be conducted on proper race tracks, with all of the relevant safety provisions.

          I hope she recovers.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 3rd July 2012, 15:36

            conducted on proper race tracks, with all of the relevant safety provisions.

            That I think is alluding to the idea of a few Marshall set up and a full medical compliment on hand…. as in race events… Which is unlikely to happen.

          • RobDin said on 3rd July 2012, 16:53

            Who is going to pay for that kind of provisions? The teams? If so then be prepared for saying goodbye to the kind of exciting racing we have now. That question that you ask have been asked many times before and all the teams and the FIA agree that the current situation is the best choice of all the bad choices available. This was a straight line test which normally is only used for relating aero performance of the wind tunnel with CFD and reality. Nothing special in terms of safety and certainly safer then going to an event like the Goodwood festival of speed.

            Despite you feeling insulted I think there is a very good reason why driving in F1 requires a super license. I too don’t want to automatically put the blame on the driver but the more I read about what happened the more I find it likely that she just forgot about the anti-stall and she was very unlucky with the timing and position of her car when it happened. I hope for her that I’m wrong but I certainly don’t want to exclude it. The questions that should be asked is “Did the driver get the proper instructions before commencing the test?”, “Has the team put everything in place to commence the test in a safe way? (proper instructions to the team, everything clear on where to go at the end of a run, etc.)”, “Did the anti stall kick in as expected?” and “Did everything work as expected at the moment the anti stall kicked in?”

        • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 3rd July 2012, 19:38

          I don’t think driver error was the cause, as it is the instinct of the driver to slam the brakes, and at least turn ther wheel if you see an obstacle ahead of you, and she has enough single-seat experience to deal with a hand clutch, and to control locking brakes.

      • Hare (@hare) said on 3rd July 2012, 22:54

        Accidents happen. Could have happened to anyone especially in a prototype car. However having a truck lift at head height right by the ‘pits’ is going be a serious point of concern.

        Otherwise the accident was innocuous

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