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.”

2012 F1 season


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118 comments on De Villota loses right eye after Duxford crash

  1. icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 4th July 2012, 18:22

    It is really touching to read all the comments and messages about her recovery and returning back to sports. Whilst there is no doubt that FIA really has to look at implementing safety standards to protect drivers head and bringing up tough stewarding policies, it is very much up to the drivers to ensure safety and respect other drivers lives before using the car as a weapon on the track.

    We admire our drivers; we love the cars and F1 is our passion. Enough lessons learned. We don’t really want to see any driver losing their career. It seems Maria was so looking forward to this day.. it is cruel

  2. Steven Chow (@fluxus) said on 4th July 2012, 18:23

    Horrified by this news. I hope it doesn’t get any worse for her and that she can come back to racing in some capacity.

    It’s really time to introduce canopies. It makes me angry that the most vulnerable part of a driver is the least protected in a modern open wheel car. We’ve had the Surtees, Massa and Wheldon accidents in recent times, and historically Senna, Koinigg, Pryce, Campos and others. The list goes on. People die or become gravely injured when they get hit in the head – why has the sport done so little about it? Even at Indianapolis this year there were a few close calls with debris or tires getting close to a driver’s head – there could easily have been some serious injuries or fatalities. For those fans concerned about a full canopy, they could make a half-canopy at the front (like a very tall windscreen), still enabling the fans to watch the driver, and the driver can get out quickly in case of an accident.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th July 2012, 19:18

      Weldon’s accident was more a result of the ‘problem’ with IndyCars’ ovals.

      The rest are simply (& unfortunately) victims of circumstance. Both Senna & Pryce’s injuries were the result of influences largely out of their control.

      • Steven Chow (@fluxus) said on 4th July 2012, 23:25

        Yes, I agree that the accidents you mentioned were caused by other factors. But I think it is much easier to regulate the area in front of the driver’s head than the many scenarios that can cause a dangerous object to fly into a driver. I think you can control what goes into a cockpit or not.

        Sure, you can try to fix pack racing, marshals running across the track, bad steering columns and the hundreds of other circumstances that would all result in an object flying towards the cockpit. But you can’t predict all of these circumstances. You can, however, predict that if a driver is exposed, eventually you will have this kind of accident. Even Emerson Fittipaldi said after the Senna accident that the sport should consider using canopies, so it’s not like all these subsequent deaths and injuries have been unforeseen.

  3. Andy (@turbof1) said on 4th July 2012, 18:29

    This really made my heart break. So terrible that that happened!
    I dearly hope she can recover to an extent where she can enjoy life.

  4. sato113 (@sato113) said on 4th July 2012, 18:48

    :( horrible news. I guess testing safety is a bit more minimal to race safety. hope she gets better soon!

  5. caci99 (@caci99) said on 4th July 2012, 19:02

    Very sad. I hope she will recover with no more consequences, and after that she will have the courage to keep on. What’s the saying, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

  6. Alan McLaren (@alanmclaren) said on 4th July 2012, 19:14

    After I read about Maria’s accident yesterday, I just couldn’t keep my mind off it all day long, hopeful that she would be fine. Finding out that she lost her right eye made me feel so horrible, and it gets worse whenever I remember how the accident was. I’m quite convinced that this crash could’ve been avoided, although I don’t think it there is or there are someone to blame.
    All we can do now is to keep praying for her recovery.

  7. Jimmy Issa (@jimmyissa) said on 4th July 2012, 19:23

    That’s it. The silliness must stop, who cares if cars look good or not. F1 and all open wheel formulas must implement whatever safety measures necessary, esthetic or otherwise, to protect pilots heads. Times have changed. Nostalgia and preconceptions of racing car esthetics must be secondary to driver safety. The new paradigm is safety and we all should learn to find the beauty in that.

    Swift recovery Maria. My thoughts are with you. 

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 4th July 2012, 20:27

      I don`t think is a question of esthetic, is a question about the pilot being in risk of being traped inside if an accident happen

      • MikeM said on 4th July 2012, 21:09

        LMP 1 cars the last few years have shown that even after massive accidents Allan McNish, Mike Rockenfeller, and Anthony Davidson. The driver is still able to get out even after the car is completly destroyed so I’m sure the F1 designers would be able to come up with a solution.

        • Jimmy Issa (@jimmyissa) said on 5th July 2012, 7:29

          Open wheel ok, open cockpit just to be able to see a helmet? It’s time to reconsider. LMP1 cars are safe and beautiful, those Audi ultras sure look the part. BTW Ask webber if he rather be on a LMP or a F1 if high speed Tarmac is coming down on his head…

  8. katederby (@katederby) said on 4th July 2012, 19:38

    This is such terrible news and I fear talk of her career and that she is now “ok” is premature.
    “Critical but stable” does not sound good. Just wishing her and her family strength at this agonising time.

  9. coefficient (@coefficient) said on 4th July 2012, 19:41

    Great shame this, and just shows that head protection is still not good enough. Get well soon Maria!!

  10. Girts (@girts) said on 4th July 2012, 20:25

    Terrible. What a high price people sometimes have to pay for following their dreams.

  11. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 4th July 2012, 21:04

    Rarely have I read the title of an article and genuinely gasped in terror.

    This is a terrible thing to happen to a driver. Its a career ruining incident and one which, by the sounds of it, was entirely avoidable. I don’t know what else to say except I hope she gets better – though even the most sincere of our thoughts will be little comfort for her sadly.

  12. molino (@molino) said on 4th July 2012, 21:06

    I can’t believe this had to happen in her very first test with the marussia f1 team, I don’t know how to feel about this, a lot of sadness and anger at once. Maria De Villota was a qualified professional driver and she worked hard to get a seat in a formula 1 car as a test driver, and it makes me angry that the sport can take away all the hopes and hard work in a very harsh way. On top of that it had to target her very beautiful face, this is what makes me sad.

  13. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 4th July 2012, 21:18

    If I be honest, I still fear the worst looking at the extent of the damage.

    20-30 mph is no slow speed to bang your head and even with the helmet on she has had serious head injuries which is not good news.

    I really don’t wont to wake up in morning and read about the worst.

    On the other hand though, this was the true test of a crash helmet.

  14. VERY VERY sour news in the morning. here’s to her speedy recovery

  15. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 4th July 2012, 22:22

    Such a massive shame for her, it’s really awful news :( An eye is such a personal thing, if that makes sense. I hope she can carry on in some motorsport capacity and that she has a speedy recover.

  16. Toxic (@toxic) said on 4th July 2012, 22:28

    After seeing photos from the accident I was actually expecting such statements. Sad but she was very lucky to survive it. The helmet just saved her life to take such an impact with so sharp surface is really a testament for its design.

  17. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 4th July 2012, 22:35

    All the best for a quick recovery. It could have been worse, but still, dreadful news. :(

  18. Dane. (@dane-1) said on 4th July 2012, 22:55

    Terrible Terrible news.

  19. Master firelee (@master-firelee) said on 4th July 2012, 23:05

    This is very sad to hear :/

  20. BROOKSY007 (@brooksy007) said on 4th July 2012, 23:25

    Keith – do drivers and pitcrew get compensation from their team if they are injured at work? Something like workcover? Or do they need to get their own insurance?
    Also do test drivers get the latest spec crash helmets?
    This is such sad news…..

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