Female driver hurt in F1 test crash

Marussia F1 team test driver Maria de Villota is in hospital after an accident at Duxford Airfield

Marussia F1 team test driver Maria de Villota is in hospital after an accident at Duxford Airfield

First published in National News © by

A female racing driver has been seriously injured in a crash during testing.

Maria de Villota, a test driver for the Marussia F1 team, was taken to hospital after her car collided with a lorry at Duxford Airfield in Cambridge.

The accident is said to have happened at low speed after Villota pulled off the track following a lap during which she reached speeds of about 200mph.

The team's official Twitter account had confirmed testing would take place at Duxford. Referring to Villota, the team added: "@mariavillota had her final seat-fitting and pedal test at our Banbury HQ and then headed north to the Imperial War Museum, ready to do battle."

Another comment said that, after the rain had eased, the "Gods are shining on Duxford".

The crash happened at the start of two days of Formula 1 testing at the site. This year is the first season the team has competed as Marussia after the Russian sports car manufacturer bought a controlling stake in the former Virgin team. Villota is the daughter of retired Formula One driver Emilio de Villota.

In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesman for Marussia said: "At approximately 09.15am, the Marussia F1 Team's test driver, Maria De Villota, had an accident in the team's MR-01 race car at Duxford Airfield where she was testing the car for the first time. The accident happened at the end of her first installation run and involved an impact with the team's support truck."

Chris Mann, Drivetime presenter on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, witnessed the accident. He said: "She got into the car, fired it up and did a test run at probably about 200mph in the rain. The car was slightly misfiring but there didn't seem to be any concerns.

"She came back into the area we were in with the engineers. She slowed down but then suddenly, inexplicably accelerated through the crowd and smashed into the side of the truck. The top of her car and her helmet seemed to take the brunt of it. She didn't move for about 15 minutes.

"After a while we thought we saw some movement of her hands but she appeared to be unconscious or unable to move for quite some time."

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