Maria de Villota, test driver for the now defunct F1 team Marussia, suffered severe injuries after crashing her car at the Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire in 2012. She was injured when the MR-01 she was testing rammed into a stationary Marussia support truck. Maria lost consciousness and was airlifted to hospital shortly thereafter. Following what were described as ‘serious head and facial injuries’, de Villota lost her right eye in the crash.
Not to be held down by her injuries, de Villota became a motivational speaker, and in the year following her crash and subsequent recovery, she spoke at several venues about injury, recovery and safety in motorsports. Described as a warm, open, personality, she was known for her immense strength of spirit following the crash that lost her half her vision. She was cleared to race again after recovery from her accident.
One year later, due to release her motivational book La vida es un regalo (Life Is a Gift), which dealt with her accident, injury and the fallback from it, Maria was found dead in her hotel room in Sevilla, Spain. The cause of death was said to be a ‘detachment of brain mass’, a direct result of her 2012 accident. De Villota’s father, Emilio de Villota, was a 1980s F1 driver himself.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive(HSE), Great Britain's independent regulator for work-related health, safety and illness has just concluded, and found that no action would be taken against Manor, who own the now defunct Marussia and embattled team Manor Marussia, which once counted the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen amongst its ranks.
Manor Motorsport Ltd has not released any comment on the developments.