July 3, 2012
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Maria De Villota was taking part in her first F1 test
Marussia’s test driver Maria de Villota has been seriously injured, possibly sustaining “life-threatening injuries” in a testing crash in Duxford today.
The 32-year-old female driver was entering the pit section after her first run, when her MR-01 suddenly accelerated into the back of an articulated lorry, at around 20-30mph.
The lorry had a loading board extended at the time, and it is believed that De Villota’s helmet collided with it first, as the rest of the car would have gone underneath the lorry.
While it is still unclear how this sudden acceleration occurred, it is possible that she was caught out by the car’s anti-stall system, which can throw a car forward if the driver is not careful. The only other F1 car De Villota has driven – a Renault R29 – did not have an anti-stall feature installed.
BBC Cambridgeshire presenter Chris Mann described the crash:
"She got into the car, fired it up and did a test run at probably about 200mph in
The car was slightly misfiring but there didn't seem to be any concerns.
She came back into the area we were in with the engineers. She slowed down but then
suddenly, inexplicably accelerated through the crowd and smashed into the side of
The top of her car and her helmet seemed to take the brunt of it. She didn't move
for about 15 minutes. Fire crews were there within seconds and the ambulance within
After a while we thought we saw some movement of her hands but she appeared to be
unconscious or unable to move for quite some time."
De Villota joined the Marussia team in March, and has reportedly been waiting for this testing day all year. Based on reports so far, we will have to wait and see will she be able to take part in another one again.