Drivers and teams pay tribute to Maria de Villota

2013 F1 season

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Formula One drivers and teams have paid tribute to Maria de Villota, who passed away today in Spain.

Her family led the tributes to the 33-year-old who last year survived a serious crash while testing for Marussia.

Dear friends: Maria has left us.

She had to go to heaven like all angels. We are thankful to God for the extra year and a half that he left her with us.
De Villota family statement

It is with great sadness that we learned a short time ago of the news that Maria de Villota has passed away.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Maria’s family and friends at this very difficult time.
Marussia statement

Today is a tragic day for motor sport. My deepest condolences go to the de Villota family. Maria was a fantastic driver, a leading light for women in motor sport and a tireless campaigner for road safety.

Above all she was a friend I deeply admired. Through her courage, strength and determination she transformed her personal misfortune on the track into a powerful message for road safety that was heard at race tracks and beyond around the world. Maria was a beloved member of the FIA family. Our thoughts go to her family today.
Jean Todt

The whole paddock is very shocked by the news that Maria is no longer with us. She was an inspiration not just to women in this sport, but also to all those who suffered life-threatening injuries.

Her story, determination and subsequent inspiration flowed from F1 through sport as a whole, and to see the images of her in Barcelona on the grid earlier this year, surrounded by a throng of jubilant children, told a great story.

Maria participated in the Manhattan Fans’ Forum on behalf of her team, Marussia F1, last year, and made a lasting impression on the fans who attended. She will be sadly missed, and we wish to pass on our sincere condolences to her family.
Martin Whitmarsh

It’s hard to talk about Maria de Villota right now, as I had only just taken my helmet off, when I was told about her death and at the moment, I still can’t believe it and need a while to stop and think about it.

Of course, it’s very sad news for the world of motorsport as Maria was loved by everyone. Now, all we can do is pray for her and for her family.
Fernando Alonso

We are shocked to hear the news of Maria de Villota’s death and would like to offer our sincerest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to her family and friends for this tragic loss.

If anybody represented strength and optimism, it was Maria. Her sudden death is a big loss to the motorsport world as she was an important ambassador for relaying important messages to the youth, and particularly girls that aspire to a career in motorsport.

Maria was an example of someone who never gave up, she always had a smile on her face and we will dearly miss her.
Monisha Kaltenborn

We were extremely saddened to learn of the loss of Maria de Villota. On behalf of everyone in the team, we send our sincere condolences to Maria’s family at this difficult time.
Christian Horner

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Maria de Villota earlier today. On behalf of the team here in Japan and back at Enstone, I would like to express our condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of Maria. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
Eric Boullier

The Williams F1 Team would like to express its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Maria de Villota following the sad news emerging from Spain today that she has passed away.
Williams statement

Today’s news about Maria de Villota is horrendous and tragic. She had been through so much – much more than most people will ever have to go through in their lives – and it’s been so tough for her. This is a real shock to the whole Formula One ‘family’ and the world of motorsport. My thoughts are with her family at this time.
Jenson Button

Just saw this awful news about Maria De Villota. All my thoughts go to the family and friends.
Sebastien Buemi

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Maria de Villota following the tragic news of her passing today. Her courage, determination and hope were an example and inspiration to many. She will be sadly missed by our sport.

We’d like to echo the thoughts of the whole paddock and express our deepest condolences on the news of Maria de Villota’s passing. RIP.

Tragic news emerging about Maria de Villota. A brave, heroic woman who set us all an example about spirit. Our wishes to friends and family.

Very sad news coming from Spain about brave Maria de Villota passing away. Our thoughts are with Maria’s family and friends in this moment.
Force India

Very sad news about Maria. She was an incredible person and big personality in our sport. My thoughts are with her family and friends. RIP
Paul di Resta

Sad news today here. We’ve lost someone that was a real fighter, someone that I really admired, Maria rest in peace we love you.
Jaime Alguersuari

So sad news emerging from Spain regarding Maria de Villota, my sincerest condolences to her family and friends.
Heikki Kovalainen

Readers are reminded given the sensitive nature of this story to refrain from posting speculation or unverified information.

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Image © Marussia

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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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30 comments on “Drivers and teams pay tribute to Maria de Villota”

  1. Oh dear in peace, Maria…

  2. Such a sad piece of news to start the day :( Rest if peace, beautiful. We’ll miss you.

    1. @fer-no65
      I agree and yes she really was beautiful! A real cutie in my book!
      So sad to read this!

  3. Such sad news, especially considering her quick recovery after the incident. Massive setback for female driver’s in F1 :(

  4. Deeply saddened.

  5. What dreadful news to here about such a fabulous lady, rest in peace Maria and know you were loved and respected by so many peaople, now sad and i’m sure missing you.

  6. Shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of this beautuful young woman, a shining light of hope, endurance and survival, not to mention an excellent ambassador for woman in what is a “man’s world” Formula 1 driving, very touching and sincere tributes from the F1 teams and drivers, rest in peace Maria de Villota

  7. Thank you and RIP

  8. This is so sad, just saw the news on Felipe’s Instagram :(
    RIP :(

  9. Very sad news. Just as she was embarking on her new inspirational journey in life with her book. The title of her book is now made even more poignant, “Life is a Gift”. vaya con dios, Maria

  10. What bland PR statements… The worst part besides her death is maybe that there is so much people who spits on the idea that she loved: to see a woman in F1. Maybe the biggest gift to offer to her memory is to fight against the sexism which lies everywhere in this sport, having a female driver would do so mush for that …

    1. Steph (@stephanief1990)
      11th October 2013, 16:42

      @spoutnik really agree with that.

      1. Agreed, but just don’t give the role to Suzie Wolff.

    2. So what do you suggest? Hire the first half-decent female that comes around, picking her over other(better) drivers, just because she’s female? That would only worsen situation. The sexists would point to that driver forever saying “Look at the last girl we had in F1, she sucked”.
      The only way to truly do this right is to wait until there appears a woman who can truly fight with the boys.

      I think the team bosses, and drivers, would love a female driver(that could pull her weight) and saying that they are incensere and just giving “PR statements” is a slap in the face to these people.

      RIP Maria, you sure have done a lot for the women in motorsport, and people like you are the ones who’ll change this world.

      1. @FerAlo I do agree with you on that. Surely it is only a tribute to Maria, and to the female race as a whole, if the woman placed into an F1 car is also one of the top 22 drivers in the world. Frankly, there is nothing stopping a woman being one of the top 22 drivers out there, but until such time as there is a top female racer, which I think there will be one day, it would be nothing more than the USP of being a woman that would see said woman in F1, and that woman most emphatically could not claim therefore to be a feminist or stand for any kind of feminist values.

      2. @FerAlo I haven’t said they were not sincere. I haven’t said to pick the first woman who comes around either. I just noticed noone spoke about her fight although it is quite the right time to reaffirm some equality.

      3. “The only way to truly do this right is to wait until there appears a woman who can truly fight with the boys.”

        No, the way to do this right is for the teams and the FIA to actively invest in supporting female drivers and combating sexism at all levels of the sport. Of course, simply “waiting” is a lot cheaper and easier.

  11. RIP!!

  12. Terrible news, RIP Maria.. Hopefully she went peacefully, because 33 is no age to die..

  13. Along with Claire and Susie at Williams and Monisha at Sauber, Maria was part of that special group that have recently really helped to push forwards and advance the chances and opportunities for women in Formula One. The only thing she didn’t accomplish sadly was a full-time drive.

    Hopefully her story will inspire all young female racers out there to finish what she started.

  14. For a figure already caped in tragedy, the tragic theme of what could have been has come full circle with this deeply saddening news. However, Maria was so much more than a simply a missed opportunity for female drivers in F1, she was the embodiment of hope and strength. Whilst she her name was never hung above an F1 garage, she was the woman who dared to dream, to hope, and for that, she has my full and ever-lasting respect. After her accident, she did not cower amongst the rumble of her destroyed motorsport career, she stood up, spoke up and most importantly she did not give up on the world of motorsport and Formula 1, the same world that had changed hers so violently. Tragic figure. Feminist. Symbol of hope and strength. Characterize as you will, what is certain is that however we remember her, we do so most solemnly and that she will be sourly missed. And now, all there really is to say is, Maria, la vida era un regalo, pero ahora descansa en paz eterna.

    1. Well said. Descanse en paz Maria. Que Dios la tenga en su gloria

    2. Well said William.

  15. Just arrived the results of authopsy:
    María died as a consequence of the brain damage caused by her accident, and she suffered a vascular episode.
    She was supposed to have very strong headaches on the last days.
    María ……. Rest in peace. You where an example for all of us …………..

    1. Ok. That’s the real news. I was wondering …

  16. Very sad news. RIP Maria

  17. Such sad news, 33 is way too young to die. My thoughts with her family.

  18. I’m just stunned about this, I can’t believe it either.


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