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F1 driver de Villota loses eye after test crash

Spain's Maria de Villota was recruited by UK-based Marussia as a test driver in March.

Story highlights

  • Maria de Villota loses her right eye after an F1 crash on Tuesday
  • The Spaniard has surgery after sustaining serious head and facial injuries
  • Marussia team investigating how the accident at a British airfield occurred
  • De Villota is one of only two female drivers contracted to an F1 team

Maria de Villota has lost her right eye after a crash at a test event, her Formula One team, Marussia, announced Wednesday.

The Spaniard, one of only two female drivers contracted to an F1 team, underwent surgery after running into a stationary truck at a British airfield on Tuesday.

A statement from the Russian-owned team said that the 32-year-old had sustained "serious head and facial injuries" and that she had been in theater overnight at Addenbrooke's Hospital in the English county of Cambridgeshire.

"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," team principal John Booth said.

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"However, it is with great sadness that I must report that, due to the injuries she sustained, Maria has lost her right eye.

Female F1 driver De Villota in profile

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    Female F1 driver De Villota in profile

Female F1 driver De Villota in profile 02:42
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In the pits with Lotus F1 Team

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    In the pits with Lotus F1 Team

In the pits with Lotus F1 Team 02:55
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"Maria's care and the well-being of her family remain our priority at this time. Her family are at the hospital, and we are doing everything possible to support them."

Tuesday's test was the first time De Villota had been behind the wheel of the MR01 car, and Booth said Marussia officials are investigating the accident.

"We have embarked on a very comprehensive analysis of what happened, and this work continues for the moment," he said.

"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."

De Villota was recruited by UK-based Marussia -- formerly known as Virgin Racing -- in March, having driven in Spanish Formula Three, the Euroseries 3000 and the Daytona 24 Hours.

The Madrid native is the daughter of former F1 driver Emilio de Villota, who raced between 1976 and 1982.

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