- Title: FILE: MOTOR RACING - Former F1 test driver Maria de Villota found dead
- Date: 11th October 2013
- Summary: (FILE - MADRID, SPAIN) (FILE - OCTOBER 11, 2012) (REUTERS) MARUSSIA FORMULA ONE TEST DRIVER MARIA DE VILLOTA ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE DE VILLOTA POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHS DE VILLOTA SITTING DOWN EMILIO DE VILLOTA SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FORMULA ONE TEST DRIVER MARIA DE VILLOTA SAYING: "One of the surgeons who operated on me came up to me...my family was around me...and he said: "Maria, we have saved your life. I don't know if you remember (but) you had a serious accident. But you are here with us. It has been very hard but we are very happy that we could save your life but we have to tell you that you have lost your eye". At that moment I looked at the doctor and said: "Are you a surgeon?" And he said: "Yes." I asked him: "Do you need two hand to operate?" And he said: "Yes, yes". And I said to him: "Well, I'm a Formula One driver and I need both eyes to drive." SCREEN DISPLAYING VILLOTA'S INJURIES
- Embargoed: 26th October 2013 13:00
- Location: Spain, Australia
- Country: Australia Spain
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVABIMNX0BG6I2AN9EO2NUDB1DQT
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Spanish Formula One test driver Maria de Villota, one of the few women to come near to competing at the top of the sport, has been found dead in a hotel in the southern Spanish city of Seville, a police spokeswoman said on Friday (October 11).
De Villota, 33, lost her right eye and fractured her skull in a horrific accident at a straight-line test at Duxford airfield in England in July 2012. She recovered from life-threatening injuries but no longer competed.
"We are assuming it was a natural death, but we cannot confirm anything," the police spokeswoman said, adding that forensic scientists and police from the homicide unit were to examine the scene.
De Villota was appointed test driver for Anglo-Russian Formula One team Marussia last year, before her crash. However she never took part in a general test with other drivers.
Only a handful of women have driven Formula One cars in the last decade and none has come near to racing one in competition.
Exactly one year ago, on October 11 2012 she appeared in front of the public for the first time since the crash and spoke about her recovery and thanked the surgeons who had saved her life.
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