De Villota loses right eye after Duxford crash

2012 F1 season

The Marussia team have confirmed test driver Maria de Villota has lost her right eye following her crash at Duxford Aerodrome yesterday.

In a statement issued on Wednesday the team said her condition remained “critical but stable”. She suffered “serious head and facial injuries” in the crash and underwent a lengthy surgical procedure at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge.

Team principal John Booth said: “Maria emerged from theatre at Addenbrooke?s Hospital this morning after a lengthy operation to address the serious head and facial injuries she received in the accident at Duxford Airfield yesterday.

“We are grateful for the medical attention that Maria has been receiving and her family would like to thank the neurological and plastics surgical teams. However it is with great sadness that I must report that, due to the injuries she sustained, Maria has lost her right eye.

“Maria?s care and the wellbeing of her family remain our priority at this time. Her family are at the hospital and we are doing everything possible to support them.

“We ask for everyone?s patience and understanding with regard to updates on Maria?s condition. We will provide further information when it is appropriate to do so and with consideration for her family.

“In the meantime, we would all like to take this opportunity to praise the emergency services at Duxford Airfield, who were on stand-by yesterday, as is usual procedure for a Formula One test.

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

“Finally, we have been overwhelmed by messages of support for Maria, her family and the Team and we would like to express our sincere gratitude for those.”

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118 comments on De Villota loses right eye after Duxford crash

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  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th July 2012, 16:07

    While I am glad to hear she is recovering, its sad to hear about her losing her eye, and I guess the surgeons will have had some hard work on her face as well.

  2. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 4th July 2012, 16:07

    This is so sad :(

    Best wishes to her and her family. Hope she manages to recover

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th July 2012, 16:08

    I feared the news would be worse but still hoped it might be better than this. What a dreadful thing to have happened.

  4. the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 4th July 2012, 16:09

    What a shame. At least she is alive.

    • RIISE (@riise) said on 4th July 2012, 20:02

      My sentiments exactly. With a direct helmet impact this could’ve been far worse.

      Can’t help but feel very bad about this. Here’s hoping she recovers as well as possible.

  5. Ninad (@nin13) said on 4th July 2012, 16:10

    Really really sad news. :-(

  6. Slr (@slr) said on 4th July 2012, 16:10

    I feel really sorry for De Villota and her family, that’s such awful news.

  7. celeste (@celeste) said on 4th July 2012, 16:11

    What terrible turn of events, but hopefully her health will improeve…

    My best wishes are with her and her family, sadly is pretty safe to say her career is over…

    Marca.com made this graphic to ilustrate how it all happened…

  8. Lewis_Mclaren_88 (@adamwilson88) said on 4th July 2012, 16:11

    that’s devastating! Glad to hear she’s alive but no doubt this is the end to her f1 racing career

  9. PJ (@pjtierney) said on 4th July 2012, 16:13

    :(

  10. Mads (@mads) said on 4th July 2012, 16:16

    While I am very glad to hear that she is relatively all right after the accident, I had still hoped that she would be fine. Like really fine.
    Get well soon Maria. Best wishes!

  11. BradFerrari (@brad-ferrari) said on 4th July 2012, 16:19

    I’m absolutely devastated and shocked by this news. :(

  12. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 4th July 2012, 16:20

    Really gutted to hear this. I know it could have been worse but… well it could have been better.

    If any positive could be drawn from this, it’s that serious accidents like this one often serve to highlight areas where safety could be improved, meaning that De Villotta’s accident could mean safer racing for people in the future.

    What a sad end to her racing story.

  13. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 4th July 2012, 16:21

    Terrible news. Her career is over :(

    • GT_Racer said on 4th July 2012, 16:33

      Not necisarily, There are a fair few drivers out there racing with sight only in 1 eye.

      Paul Drayson is one example, He raced successfully in the ALMS for a few years winning overall at Road America & he ran Le Mans in 2009/2010.

  14. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 4th July 2012, 16:22

    In any case, I think the accident is going to further raise concerns about the safety of a driver’s head. It could strengthen the case for a closed cockpit.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 4th July 2012, 16:38

      @atticus-2 Probably, but it was a very weird accident. If anything, I think they will have a look at straight-line tests like this one looking for better safety.

    • Eleanore (@leucocrystal) said on 4th July 2012, 19:43

      I’m sure you’re right, but to be honest, that concerns me. I still believe statistically, the odds are far greater for failure of whatever mechanism they devise to close the cockpit (potentially trapping a driver in the event of a fire or a serious crash), than they are for more freak accidents like this one and Massa’s. I understand they want to do everything they can to improve driver safety, but I have yet to see anything proposed for a closed cockpit that doesn’t bring to my mind at least 5-10 ways it could go horribly wrong if everything doesn’t function perfectly 100% of the time. I just don’t like those odds.

      As to the news of Maria, I’m just in shock. While she’s definitely lucky to be alive (seeing the photo from yesterday, frankly she was lucky to not have been decapitated), I was really hoping her injuries would somehow not be so serious. All my thoughts are with her and her family, and I hope she has the speediest and fullest recovery possible. Such a pointless accident (I’m still amazed there was a truck anywhere near a moving F1 car with protrusion that a driver would likely have a hard time seeing, let alone one at cockpit level).

      • mcrbide said on 5th July 2012, 8:56

        QOTD –

        “I’m sure you’re right, but to be honest, that concerns me. I still believe statistically, the odds are far greater for failure of whatever mechanism they devise to close the cockpit (potentially trapping a driver in the event of a fire or a serious crash), than they are for more freak accidents like this one and Massa’s. I understand they want to do everything they can to improve driver safety, but I have yet to see anything proposed for a closed cockpit that doesn’t bring to my mind at least 5-10 ways it could go horribly wrong if everything doesn’t function perfectly 100% of the time. I just don’t like those odds.”

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th July 2012, 9:09

        @leucocrystal

        potentially trapping a driver in the event of a fire or a serious crash

        Closed cockpits have been a feature of endurance racing for decades and I can’t think of any examples of this happening. Can anyone else?

        I can, however, recall several instances of drivers surviving appalling accidents where the added protection offered by a canopy surely helped their chances of survival – the two huge Audi crashes at Le Mans last year spring to mind.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th July 2012, 7:23

      @atticus-2

      It could strengthen the case for a closed cockpit.

      Not at all. There is a difference between Maria de Villota’s accident and Felipe Massa’s in 2009. It wasn’t speed or driver experience or the object they hit. The difference is that, while equally-tragic, Maria de Villota’s accident was entirely avoidable.

      A cockpit canopy probably would have done wonders for de Villota. She may not have been injured at all. But if somebody had thought to move the team transporter away from the marquee, this never would have happened.

      I’m not accusing Marussia of recklessness or complacency here, or even a lack of thought. Two days ago, it never would have occurred to anyone that an accident like this could have happened – and yet, it did. When Marussia arrived in Duxford, they probably did what they (and everyone else) have always done when they set themselves up for the test. And unfortunately, circumstances combined to result in ts accident.

      There is one good thing that will come of this: this will never happen again. The Formula 1 community watched on in horror as de Villota’s accident unfolded, and you can bet that every team will take pains to prevent something like it from happening in the future.

      So while a cockpit canopy probably would have done wonders, the fact is that this accident was as avoidable as it was tragic. So a canopy isn’t needed because teams will now be very conscious of where they park their transporters.

  15. Dave (@davea86) said on 4th July 2012, 16:24

    On the one hand it’s terrible news that she’s got such horrible injuries but on the other hand it’s great to hear that she’s alive and in a stable condition. I’ve heard reports that she’s been conscious after the accident and talked to her family so hopefully that means she hasn’t suffered any serious brain injuries.

    On a less serious note, I don’t think she’ll have a career in Formula 1 after losing the sight in one eye, plus she’s already 32 years old. Having said that hopefully she’ll get well enough to get back into some sort of racing if she chooses to.

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