Posted by: janecronin | May 11, 2014

María de Villota Comba (1980 – 2013)


María de Villota was a Spanish racing driver who died recently at the age of 33. She was born in Madrid, the daughter and sister of well-known Formula One drivers, and was encouraged from an early age to take up racing. She competed in numerous racing series, including the World Touring Car Championship and ADAC Procar Series. In August 2009, she signed with Atlético Madrid to race in the the Super League Formula open wheel racing series. She also competed in the 2005 twenty-four Daytona endurance race.
In 2011 María made her Formula One test debut in a Renault R29 at the Paul Ricard Circuit, in France, and in 2012, it was announced that she had joined Russian Marussia F1 Team as a test driver. However, on 3rd July 2012, María was involved in a testing accident at Duxford Aerodrome in Cambridgeshire while carrying out straight-line testing for Marussia. It was in fact her first time in the car. She collided with a stationary truck at the end of a test run when it had just returned to the service area. Her car was travelling at between 50 and 65 kms an hour when it crashed and it took an hour for her to be removed from the car. She was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital with life-threatening head and facial injuries. She remained conscious throughout the incident but the following day it was announced that she had lost her right eye. After a stay of 17 days, María returned to Spain, having escaped severe neurological damage.
At a later press conference María revealed that she had also lost her senses of smell and taste, still suffered from headaches, and was scheduled to undergo further surgery. However, she said that she wished to return to racing if she were granted a license. She also wanted to get involved in promoting safety improvements in motorsport.
On the morning of 11 October 2013, exactly one year from her first public appearance after her testing accident, María de Villota was found dead in her hotel room in Sevilla. It was believed that the underlying cause may have been a ‘detachment of brain mass’ as a result of her 2012 accident.
At the time of her death María had been married just three months and was due to launch her autobiography “La Vida es un Regalo” “Life Is a Gift”.

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