María de Villota

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María de Villota Comba
María de Villota 02.jpg
María de Villota in 2011.
Nationality Spanish
Born (1980-01-13)13 January 1980
Madrid, Spain
Died 11 October 2013(2013-10-11) (aged 33)
Seville, Spain
Related to Emilio de Villota (father)
Emilio de Villota, Jr. (brother)
Previous series
20092011
2009
2009
2008
2008
2007
2007, 2010
200607
2005–06
200105
Superleague Formula
Formula Palmer Audi
Trofeo Abarth Europe
Euroseries 3000
Italian Superstars
ADAC Procar – Division I
Spanish GT Championship
WTCC
Ferrari Challenge Europe
Spanish F3

María de Villota Comba (13 January 1980 – 11 October 2013) was a Spanish racing driver. She was the daughter of former Formula One driver Emilio de Villota, and sister of Emilio de Villota, Jr., who similarly competed in Formula Palmer Audi. Prior to her death, de Villota was recovering from serious head and facial injuries, sustained during an accident in straight-line testing as the Marussia Formula One team test driver.

Early career[edit]

De Villota was born in Madrid. 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 for the remainder of the season in the Superleague Formula open wheel racing series. She remained with the Atlético Madrid team until the series folded in 2011. She also competed in the 2005 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race.

Formula One[edit]

On 18 August 2011, the Lotus Renault GP team confirmed reports that de Villota had made her Formula One test debut in a Renault R29 at the Paul Ricard Circuit, and that her management was in talks to secure her a test driver seat in the future.[1] In December she reiterated her desire to work with the team in 2012, adding that she was in advanced talks over a third driver role.[2]

On 7 March 2012, it was announced that María de Villota had joined Marussia F1 Team as a test driver,[3] with the opportunity to sample Formula One machinery later in the year.[4]

Duxford Aerodrome testing accident[edit]

At approximately 09:30 on 3 July 2012, de Villota was involved in a testing accident at Duxford Aerodrome in England while carrying out straight-line testing for Marussia, her first time in the car. Her car collided with a stationary truck at the end of a test run when it had just returned to the service area. Initial eye witnesses estimated the car was travelling at between 50 and 65 km/h (31 and 40 mph) when it crashed.[5] It took an hour for her to be removed from the car and she was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridgeshire with life-threatening head and facial injuries.[6][7] She was later reported to be conscious.[8] The following day, Marussia team principal John Booth said de Villota remained in a "critical but stable" condition in hospital and had lost her right eye.[9][10][11]

On 6 July, the Marussia Technical Centre said that following an operation that day, her condition in relation to her head injury had improved.[12] On 16 July, Marussia said the car was not at fault. Team principal John Booth said: "We are satisfied the findings of our internal investigation exclude the car as a factor in the accident".[13] After a stay of 17 days, de Villota left the hospital and returned to Spain, having escaped severe neurological damage.[14]

De Villota made her first public appearance since the accident in October, giving an exclusive interview to ¡Hola! magazine and then hosting a press conference for the general media.[15] She revealed that she had also lost her senses of smell and taste, still suffered from headaches, and was scheduled to undergo further surgery, but that she was open to a future return to racing if she were to be granted a license, and that she also wished to become involved in promoting safety improvements in motorsport. She released a computer graphic which showed the extent of her initial cranial injuries.[16][17][18]

Personal life[edit]

De Villota married Rodrigo García Millán, a personal trainer and owner of Oxigeno Training,[19] on 28 July 2013 in Seville,[20] less than three months before her death.

Death[edit]

On the morning of 11 October 2013, exactly one year from her first public appearance after her testing accident, Spanish media reported that de Villota, aged 33, had been found dead in her Seville hotel room;[21] Eurosport reported that her family had confirmed her death.[22] An autopsy confirmed de Villota had suffered a cardiac arrest, with it being believed that the underlying cause may have been a 'detachment of brain mass' as a result of her 2012 accident.[23]

At the time of her death, de Villota was scheduled to participate as a speaker at the Seville Fundación Lo Que De Verdad Importa (LQDVI) conference and was due to launch her autobiography Life Is a Gift on 14 October.[23]

Notable published works[edit]

Decorations[edit]

Motorsports career results[edit]

Grand-Am Series[edit]

World Touring Car Championship[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Euroseries 3000[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Superleague Formula[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

† Non Championship round

References[edit]

  1. ^ F1: Female Driver De Villota In Talks For F1 Test Seat Speed.com. Posted 19 August 2011. GMM Newswire.
  2. ^ Weeks, James (1 December 2011). "De Villota aiming for Lotus Renault third driver role in 2012". motorstv.com (Motors TV). Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Spaniard María de Villota joins our test driver programme". Marussia F1 Team. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "María de Villota joins Marussia F1 team as test driver for the 2012 season". Autosport. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "BBC news report". 
  6. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/04/sport/motorsport/de-villota-f1-marussia-motorsport/index.html
  7. ^ "F1 Marussia driver hurt in Duxford testing crash". BBC. 3 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Enoch, Nick (3 July 2012). "Female racing driver seriously injured after crashing F1 car she was testing for British Grand Prix is 'conscious and talking'". Daily Mail (London: Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "A medical update on Maria de Villota". Marussia F1 (Marussia Motors). 4 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (4 July 2012). "Maria de Villota loses right eye in accident, remains in critical but stable condition". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "F1 driver Maria De Villota loses eye in test accident". 4 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "F1 crash driver Maria de Villota's condition improving". BBC News. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Maria de Villota: Car 'not at fault' over Marussia test crash". BBC News. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Maria de Villota leaves hospital and returns to Spain". 21 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "En ¡HOLA!: María de Villota, el sobrecogedor relato de la campeona que volvió a nacer". ¡Hola!. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (11 October 2012). "Maria de Villota makes first public appearance since crash". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (10 October 2012). "Maria de Villota: Marussia driver recalls life-threatening accident". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  18. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (10 October 2012). "Maria de Villota: Injured Marussia driver unsure on racing return". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "María de Villota happily married to Rodrigo Garcia". fabwags. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  20. ^ "María de Villota se casa por sorpresa en Santander". 29 July 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2013.  (Spanish)
  21. ^ Joseph Wilson (11 October 2013). "Ex-F1 Test Driver Maria De Villota Dies at 33". ABC News (Barcelona). AP. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "Formula 1 – Former F1 driver Maria de Villota 'found dead in hotel room'". Yahoo Eurosport. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "Hallan el cuerpo sin vida de María de Villota en un hotel de Sevilla". abc.es. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  24. ^ Plataforma Editorial
  25. ^ Royal Order of the Sports Merit.

External links[edit]