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Formula 1 Test Driver Maria de Villota Loses Eye After Crash

July 04, 2012

Formula One test driver Maria de Villota lost her right eye after a crash yesterday and is in a critical but stable condition, her Marussia team said.

De Villota, 32, is being treated for serious head and facial injuries at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, England, Marussia said in a statement. She had surgery that began yesterday afternoon and ended this morning, the team said.

“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,” Marussia team manager John Booth said in the statement. “However it is with great sadness that I must report that, due to the injuries she sustained, Maria has lost her right eye.”

The Spanish driver was testing the team’s MR-01 racing car for the first time at Duxford Airfield near Cambridge. The car slowed after a test run and then accelerated into a truck, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Banbury, England-based Marussia said it had started an analysis of how the accident happened.

De Villota completed 300 kilometers (186 miles) of testing for the Lotus Renault team last year and was hired by Marussia in March. A woman driver hasn’t competed in the most-watched motor sport since 1992.

The daughter of a racing driver, De Villota has competed in series including the World Touring Car Championship since 2001, according to her website. In 2004, she drove a Ferrari Modena sports car at the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Russian sports carmaker Marussia Motors acquired a stake in the Formula One team, formerly known as Virgin Racing, from Lloyds Banking Group’s private equity arm LDC in November 2010. LDC said at the time it was retaining an undisclosed stake.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Duff in Madrid at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at at

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