De Villota conscious after crash, Marussia confirm

2012 F1 season

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Marussia have confirmed test driver Maria de Villota is conscious following her crash this morning as she remains in hospital for examination.

The team said in a statement: “Further to the accident involving the Marussia F1 Team’s Test Driver Maria De Villota this morning, the team can confirm that Maria was transferred by ambulance from Duxford Airfield, where the accident happened, to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

“Since Maria’s arrival at the hospital at approximately 10:45 this morning, she has been receiving the best medical attention possible at the hospital, which is the region’s major trauma centre. Maria is conscious and medical assessments are ongoing. The team will await the outcome of these assessments before providing further comment.

“The team’s first priority at this time is Maria and her family.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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68 comments on “De Villota conscious after crash, Marussia confirm”

  1. Thats good news.

    Best wishes and speed recovery…

    1. It sure is good news. Apparently she was operated in London today to treat some skull fractures, and is now being kept under coma for observation in the next 2 days.

      The last news from Ian Parkes (@ianparkesf1) is that

      Marussia have confirmed Maria De Villota has sadly lost her right eye as a result of yesterday’s accident.

      Poor Maria, I guess that will put an end to racing for her then.

  2. Good to hear she’s consicous. I’ve heard she spoke to her family too. So good news.

  3. Thank goodness!

  4. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    3rd July 2012, 15:28

    The fact that a human being can crash at high speed like this and live to tell the tale is unbelievable. It’s a real testament to the engineers that design these cars.

    1. Have you been following the news? It was a 30mph crash. Credit to helmet designers for sure

      1. Good news shes conscious.

        I wouldn’t fancy essentially headbutting a truck at 30mph, with or without a helmet

    2. Although I agree with you, she crashed at 30mph… It was more the open cock pit that was the problem (or so it seems)

      1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
        3rd July 2012, 15:46

        @danbrown180 and @gilles
        I was talking about motorsport crashes in general, like Anthony Davidson and Massa hence why I said “human being” and not Maria de Villota specifically.

        1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
          3rd July 2012, 15:56

          But admittedly my initial assumption was that it was a high speed crash, as the her injury’s were described as “Life Threatening”.

          1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
            3rd July 2012, 16:19

            The article that I read on the Autosport (here’s the link) website didn’t specify the speed that she was travelling, I wrongly assumed that it was a high speed crash as here injuries were described as “Life Threatening”. I should have read more than one article I guess.

      2. @Dan Brown – I wouldn’t say it was an open cockpit problem more like a lowered loading platform at drivers head height problem.

  5. Good news then!

  6. did you read the articles? it wasn’t an high speed crash at all

  7. Huge relief! Get well soon Maria!

  8. Great news, and best wished for a speedy recovery.

  9. Great stuff. Sounds like the crash (slow as it was) caused less damage as was feared. Hopefully that turns out to be the case!

  10. Oh.. thank goodness for that. I would blame team for instructing the driver to park so close to the truck while car is still running under such test conditions, and obviously failing to follow proper hazard and safety procedures. Or failing to direct the driver away from possible hazard or risk area until car is safe to be handeled.

    1. Problem with that being that drivers routinely make similar approaches to over a dozen mechanics during race weekends, which falls within proper safety procedures. A parked vehicle is not a hazard. This was a freak accident and I don’t think it’s correct to blame the team.

      Very relieved to hear this news though. Further credence given to the argument for cockpit protection.

    2. who's better who's best
      3rd July 2012, 18:52

      Its a good job they didn’t instruct her to park next to something like…say…people, then isn’t it, or worst, do a pit stop!

      Let’s wait to see what happened but 100’s of these tests take place without incident, these are proffesional drivers in cars, not monkeys in rocket ships…there should be no reason at all NOT to park a lorry or anything else near an area where the car is to be serviced, its not as if it was on the edge of the runway and she was passing it at 200mph

  11. Good news, I hope she makes a full recovery and returns in the car as soon as possible. I also hope we can learn from this scary accident and improve the safety in F1 further. Thanks to F1F for the professional reporting during the whole day.

    1. +1 agree totally
      Thought would comment to highlight the good point. Expect nothing less tbh, great site.

  12. Glad to hear this.

  13. Great news!

  14. Great news! May she have a full recovery.

  15. good news, for a while i was fearing the first fatal accident in f1 since Senna died – and it would have been in the most bizarre/incredible of situations. i am glad it did not happen. this lady is already up against it in the male dominated sport and all the discrimination that comes with it, i hope she gets straight back in the cockpit and keeps trying, i am glad there is a female in f1, and i know it is important with so many young girls these days doing go-karting but a lot of them feeling inferior to their male go-kart competition because they see every top racing driver a male, and they were born female.

    1. Drop Valencia!
      3rd July 2012, 23:54

      I saw a guy get killed at the Melbourne GP when a wheel hit him in the chest, and another marshall died at another race, that I am ashamed to say i can’t even remember where, we should try to remember these guys too.

      1. Monza the previous year to that incident.

    2. Bit off topic,

      You should visit Drag Racing in Australia, junior category talking about inferiority. You can hardly find any boys :)

  16. good. still dont understand how she hit a truck on the way back to the pits… must have pressed the wrong pedal and spun out.

    1. she was supposed to park in front of the garage and then pushed back inside (exactly what we see on every practice session). when she turned the wheel to align the car, it has accelerated. I think it was mechanical failure. It seems unlikely that a racing driver would press the wrong pedal for full stop.

      1. I’ve heard that from less than reliable sources (a bloke who claims to be a duxford: that she forgot to put it into neutral and let the clutch slip and the anti-stall kicked in and pushed her into the back of the truck.

        1. doesn’t make sense since the rules say the anti-stall when triggered must fully disengage the the clutch and keep it disengaged untill the driver manually disengage the clutch all the way

  17. sid_prasher (@)
    3rd July 2012, 16:36

    Glad to hear this! I was feeling a bit more +ve after reading Fernando’s tweet (he having spoken tto thee family) but a confirmation is better.
    Can someone shed more light on how the accident happened? I am still not able to understand how a truck was allowed to be anywhere near the test site.

  18. Very glad she’s okay and I hope her recovery is quick.

  19. thank God she is ok!
    to be honest I wasn’t a fan of the whole safety cockpit cage Idea, but after seeing this and how devastating a low-speed crash can be, I say it would be a good addition.

  20. I read that there is an anti-stall feature on that Cosworth CA2012 that detects an engine stall at too low of a speed and automatically gives the engine 50% throttle. It can catch a driver off guard easily. Bless her heart. I hope for a speedy full recovery for her. From the way the accident sounds, crashing into the trailer like that, it could have been very tragic.

  21. Avada Kedavra
    3rd July 2012, 17:34

    Such a shame (the accident)

  22. John_Mac (@)
    3rd July 2012, 17:38

    Thank goodness it seems the lady will survive,
    and, hopefully, make a good recovery, although,
    with a blow to the head like that,
    patience will be the order of the day.
    While of course it will be good for her “to get back on her bike” at some point,
    I hope she does so at a lower level of motorsport, and abandons
    her (frankly futile) ambition with regard to Formula 1.
    Even if there were absolutely no driver error involved here (might be quite a while before we know), –
    [that neither-up-nor-down tailgate is an accident waiting to happen] –
    in the modern era, no 32-year-old OF EITHER GENDER with her curriculum vitae,
    was ever going to break into F1 (as per her stated ambition).
    What could possibly go wrong? (Lots.)
    What was the potential upside?…
    I hope Mr & Mrs Wolff over at Williams have taken note, although,
    to be fair, Susie (Stoddart) Wolff IS perhaps rather better qualified than Miss de Villota.
    Anyway, whatever… I just hope she gets over it,
    and Marussia have a right good honest look in their mirror.

    1. Shaun Robinson (@)
      3rd July 2012, 17:54


      In all truthfullness (that a word?) women drivers bring sponsorship. Perhaps Marussia were looking at her for a long term test driver, like Mclaren have in Paffet, but one that brings in more revenue. But if someone says, ‘wanna test drive at the pinnacle of motorsport?’ – you say yes. And at the end of the day, she’s hurt herself more than anyone else.

      1. +1 Very well put.

        1. John_Mac (@)
          3rd July 2012, 18:53

          Thank you, Shaun, and F1_Americana, for the conversation :)
          (And it might well turn out she did NOT hurt herself, that it was solely some combination
          of mechanical fault and that “health-and-safety-nightmare” tailgate.)
          Even so, my view remains that Miss de Villota (let me emphasise, irregardless of gender)
          is not adequately qualified or experienced for F1 test driving, in no way comparable with the experienced and talented Gary Paffett.
          That said, I have nothing but admiration for her bravery, and, as a fan, naturally
          have total understanding for her desire to participate at that level, as you point out
          so well, Shaun. I only hope her brain will recover and she’s not disfigured.

          “Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?…”

          1. I agree with this.

            Is not a question of gender is a question of qualification.

          2. I get what you mean @john_mac and what you say is true of many of the drivers that have landed these “test driver” and even “driver program” roles. If we look back to some names on the rosters, some look to be there only because of bringing money, or good publicity (who expected Ho-Pin-Tung to get an F1 drive, for real? or the host of local drivers getting something of a role in a team at the local races). Or even Vladimir Putin!

            On the other hand, if one wants to give people a shot at having a go in the car (for various reasons), a straight line aero-test is just about the lowest level of skill needed. After all, there’s no other drivers nor many people besides the team that will even be present.

    2. @john_mac – Sorry, but all I see in your post is a double-standard. Just because de Villota is an older driver, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t stand a chance at making it. Look at Damon Hill – he was thirty-one years old when he made his Formula 1 debut, and when he joined Brabham in 1992, all he had was two Formula 3000 podiums to his name. And yet, from the minute he joined Williams in 1993, he was a World Championship contender, and he would remain so for the next four seasons. Maybe Maria de Villota won’t suddenly show some natural latent talent that had never shown itself before, but until such time as she actually races, how can we say with any certainty?

      Your post reeks of an archaic “Run along, sweetie; you’ve had your fun, but now it’s time for the men to do their job” attitude.

      1. It’s been a while but for once I completely agree with PM!

      2. John_Mac (@)
        4th July 2012, 10:34

        a) I wrote: “in the modern era”. Twenty years on from Damon Hill, and the cars are MUCH more digital, and less analogue – much less organic, and more Play-Stationy. No-one in
        2012, age 32, with Miss de Villota’s cv, male, female or neuter, is going to break into F1.
        My feeling is that her totally admirable ambition and enthusiasm is perhaps being taken
        advantage of for commercial reasons. Espero que ella se recupere enteramente.

        b) If chivalry is archaic, then I suppose I must plead guilty on that point,
        but you know nothing of my attitude, “Prisoner Monkeys”. Might the reek you detect
        be in the nose of the beholder, perhaps?

        c) I VERY rarely post on such fora, and this reminds me why. I was very upset yesterday,
        and still am, as it brings it all back: Jimmy, Ayrton, and so on (such an ugly and horrific
        accident, with the head taking full brunt), and felt the need to communicate with fellow F1 fans. I’ll leave it now, except to point out that, while accusing me of “a double-standard”,
        you commence your post with “sorry”, yet you’re not sorry at all, are you? If you would
        like the last word on this, all you have to do is reply.

        1. @john_mac – I sure hope you won’t let PM distract you from the conversation with the rest of us here, I think you made a valid point.

          1. John_Mac (@)
            4th July 2012, 10:58

            Thank you kindly for that :) , BasCB, and for your interesting reply above.

          2. I don’t think there’s any validity whatsoever at mentioning age or gender in relation to these events.
            Personally I consider it bigotry. Light weight bigotry but bigotry nonetheless no matter how well intentioned the OP felt they were being…

  23. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher)
    3rd July 2012, 18:17

    Got a feeling this is gonna bring even more focus on open cockpits. I never really thought that Surtees or Massa’s accidents were freak, thought it was only a matter of time before a driver got struck on the head again, but to crash into a truck, i would classify that as freak. Still what difference does it make if its freak or not, this can’t be allowed happen again, maybe there should be more safety regulations at private tests.

    1. And maybe they should then make MotoGP riders ride fully enclosed then?

  24. Surprised at some off the comments hinting that age an gender were a factor in this freak accident, I imagine that there will be more questions when the HSE enquire why there was a lorry was in the test area with its tail loading gate lowered, than the telemetry from the car.

    1. sid_prasher (@)
      3rd July 2012, 20:20

      Yes surprises me as well…especially since the facts are not out yet. and even if it was her mistake…that doesn’t automatically mean that she is not competent to handle an F1 car.

  25. Carlito's way
    3rd July 2012, 20:04

    Sorry but wasn’t she doing a straight line test?

    1. She then returned to the “pits”, beside the truck, and although she was slowing down the car suddenly accelerated into the lorry, for an unkown reason.

    2. yeah was wondering about that…. if it was during the run, maybe something mechanical goes wrong, its understandable, but after the run returning to the pits, its just weird

  26. I wonder how one can be conscious if their condition is life-threatening. Perhaps the initial reports weren’t fully correct? Definitely if she’s conscious her head is working, which is good considering she suffered head injuries.
    I’d still be amazed to see that she had no consequences following such a nasty crash, although it’d be an immensely welcome news.

  27. not seen it since this morning but reports the car was misfiring on its installation lap, but nothing out off the ordinary.

  28. Nice to hear she’s consious.
    I can’t deny that some rude, offensive jokes came to my mind when I first read that a female driver hit a truck at a straight line test.
    However, such is the nature of F1Fanatic, after scrolling and reading the comments including all links provided, I got a somewhat clearer view on what might have happened. I know not all sources are to be trusted, but it seems that the anti stall kicked in, which apparently gives 50% throttle with cosworth.
    I think all 6 WDC’s on the grid have had their moments where anti stall kicked in, so in this case it seems not to be about the amount of talent.
    That lorrie in that place is also not so smart it seems.

    In the end it’s a freak accident, where I hope FIA avoids jumping to closed cockpit conclusions…

    And for now, all best for Maria and family and friends. Her talents is something we’ll discuss another time.

    1. rules say the anti-stall must disengage the clutch and keep it disengaged, it doesn’t make the car go anywhere.
      look here at around 5:35

  29. from Spain is reporting than Maria will have emergency brain surgery

    1. The report says that the opperation should have finished by 11:00pm UK time…

  30. themagicofspeed (@)
    3rd July 2012, 23:46

    The thing about this crash, that is so totally alarming compared to other crashes of the last few years, is the bewildering stupidity that caused it. According to Autosport, the crash occured when she crashed into one of the large Maruissa team transporters, which weigh several tonnes and probably are not soft, making them pretty dangerous. Why on earth was such a vehicle parked in a place where there was even a chance, no matter how small, that it could be hit? There are extremely strict safety precautions in F1 that are there for a reason, all teams are expected, rightly so, to make safety the #1 priority at all times. I just cant believe they parked a transporter where there was a chance of a collision. It could well have cost her her life; the medics on the scene reportedly said her condition was life-threatening at the time they arrived, though i understand she is conscious and stable.

    Best wishes to her and hope she gets well soon.

    1. Yes, I get your point. But then again, if it wasn`t because of that vehicle she probably would have run over members of her team.

      It is a weird accident, and as much as I want to blame the truck… we won`t know until we have all the information.

      Sky was on place to tape Villota, maybe they have video that will help understand the acciden

    2. The pit buildings are “not soft” either, and yet cars drive near them every other weekend. I hate how people are turning this into some kind of a silly safety over-promotion situation.

  31. This is so good to read. Hope she recovers soon and gets another chance to realy prove herself.

  32. Brilliant news :)

    I imagine that the FIA will now ramp up their cockpit protection device research.

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