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

  1. dirgegirl (@dirgegirl) said on 4th July 2012, 16:25

    This is terrible news – I hope Maria recovers from her other injuries swiftly. Nice to see the support from Alonso et al on Twitter.

  2. Carlitox (@carlitox) said on 4th July 2012, 16:26

    Glad that she’s getting OK but I can’t be happy at all. In my opinion she was set to be the next woman in F1. Destiny is cruel sometimes, it happened to Kubica and now to Maria. The best of luck to her on whatever she does next, although sadly it won’t be any type of racing. Maybe she can get involved in motorsport in some way.

  3. robbiepblake (@driftin) said on 4th July 2012, 16:27

    I’m deeply saddened by this. Her life has changed and that’s probably her career gone too.

  4. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 4th July 2012, 16:28

    Sadly, this ends any hope of her ever driving in F1. But it should not stop her from having a solid career in the paddock if that is what she wants to do. Helmut Marko is a very good example of this.

    • nivek252 (@nivek252) said on 4th July 2012, 16:49

      Agreed, this is crushing for a female driver, they find it so hard to get anywhere near an F1 drive and when one gets within reach of it, it gets taken away so cruelly. Glad she is not serviously injured though.

  5. robbiepblake (@driftin) said on 4th July 2012, 16:29

    As @atticus-2 said, I hope they learn from this accident and don’t just accept it as something that happens. We learned from Senna’s death, surely we can learn from Massa’s skull fracture and De Villota’s eye loss?

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 4th July 2012, 16:37

      We already have learned from massa’s skull fracture. The large advertising strips you now see on the visor of F1 drivers’ helmets are filled with a flexible composite webbing which effectively covers the ‘weak point’ between the helmet and the visor. In theory this means that an accident like Massa’s should be far less likely these days.

  6. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 4th July 2012, 16:33

    This is terrible, just terrible but at least she’s alive. Just goes to show how lucky Felipe Massa was to escape from his crash with his eyesight intact, as he almost lost the use of his left eye.

  7. GT_Racer said on 4th July 2012, 16:40

    For those talking about her racing career been over.

    THe FIA changed there policy in 2009 & now grant an international racing licence to drivers who only have sight in 1 eye providing they show well in national championships.

    There are drivers out there racing & even winning despite having sight in only 1 eye. Paul Drayson is one example, Raced & won in the ALMS & raced for 2 years at Le Mans despite been blind in 1 eye.

    Providing she still has good sight in her remaining eye, There’s no reason for this to be the end of her racing career.

  8. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 4th July 2012, 16:41

    To echo many of the sentiments expressed on here so far, I’m shocked and saddened to hear she has paid such a price in this accident but I am still glad to hear she is still stable. I hope she recovers as well as she can quickly.

  9. JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 4th July 2012, 16:42

    I was half-expecting worse news when I saw the first news-flash yesterday morning, in that sense it’s good that the news wasn’t worse, but this still seems so awful. Hopefully that is the full extent of the long term damage and she makes a quick and full recovery in every other regard.

  10. S.J.M (@sjm) said on 4th July 2012, 16:43

    Its obviously awful news, for her and her family. It is sad to hear, but she will walk away from this with her life and you cant put a price on that.

    As mentioned by GT_Racer, a return to racing is a possibilty on an international license (such as Paul Draysons example).

    But thats all in the future, the important thing now is to recover.

  11. robk23 (@robk23) said on 4th July 2012, 16:44

    This is so sad to hear, I really feel sorry for Maria right now as her life will never be quite the same again. It isn’t the end though and I’m sure there’s a bright future for her somewhere in motorsport. This just demonstrates though that the quest to improve safety must not stop and there needs to be continued research into cockpit protection.

  12. maxthecat said on 4th July 2012, 16:48

    Terrible news, i hope at least this is all the bad news we’ll hear.

    Lets not use a freak accident to try and push closed cockpits etc, F1 doesn’t need them and it would ruin the sport. In this case not leaving a loading tray down at the drivers head height anywhere near a moving vehicle was all that was needed and i think the team need to look at themselves very closely.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th July 2012, 17:10

      But we’ve already had Surtees’ death and Massa’s crash as well. How many “freak” accidents do you suggest we ignore?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th July 2012, 18:06

        I say we shouldn’t ignore any of them.
        Massa’s incident gave an impulse to the strips shielding the part of the helmet where the visor opens, its small things like this that help safety improve over time.

      • John H (@john-h) said on 4th July 2012, 22:48

        As has been discussed before, closed cockpits could cause more problems than they solve in F1 due to the open wheel nature of the cars.

        Personally, I’m in favour of a front roll hoop (or several lighter ones that enable better visibility than the one tested) which would have prevented yesterday’s injury.

        By the way, it wasn’t commented on much at the time, but Kovalainen’s right rear tether did no job at all in his montreal crash and no one seemed to ask why or mention it. They still need to improve.

        • John H (@john-h) said on 4th July 2012, 23:32

          I had a go at visualising a closed cockpit McLaren using some sort of high strength plastic (or something). Link

          Don’t think it looks too bad to be honest. Not sure where the window wipers would go though!!

        • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th July 2012, 23:48

          The wheel tethers are designed to prevent the wheels flying off in high-energy incidents (i.e. high-speed spins). Accidents like Kovalainen’s are both fairly slow and the wall absorbed the tyres energy, so even though the tether failed (because the drive shaft basically disintegrated) it wouldn’t have probably mattered anyway.

  13. Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 4th July 2012, 16:48

    Oh god, this is so, so sad :/

    I like to believe that drivers are ready to pay whatever price when they strap on the helmet, fully knowing of the risk driving these cars, but for this to happen to her in her first try in an F1 car – something that must have felt so incredible to her – is just too cruel. I really hope she recovers well and keeps on with her motorsport career if she so choses.

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 4th July 2012, 16:52

      @guilherme Didn’t she test a Renault last year? Anyway, fully agreed. They all know and accept the risks, but noone can ever expect such a terrible thing.

      Hopefully that’s all the bad news we’ll get on her.

  14. andae23 (@andae23) said on 4th July 2012, 16:51

    Absolutely terrible news: I didn’t realize it was that serious. I hope she will have a speedy recovery and will be able to race again in the future.

  15. Snafu (@snafu) said on 4th July 2012, 16:58

    sad…very sad :(

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