Marussia test driver Maria de Villota has suffered serious injuries in an aero testing accident in England.
De Villota had just completed her first run in the car when she made low-speed contact with a stationary team truck. Eye-witness reports indicate that her helmet struck the tailgate of the vehicle.
The Spaniard was transferred from the Duxford Aerodrome facility to the Adenbrookes’ Hospital in Cambridge, with the local ambulance service describing her injuries as “life threatening”.
The team issued the following statement immediately after the incident: “At approximately 09.15hrs BST this morning, 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.”
In a second statement released at midday local time, the team confirmed that De Villota was conscious in the hospital.
“Since Maria’s arrival at the hospital at approximately 10.45am this morning, she has been receiving the best medical attention possible at the hospital, which is the region’s major trauma centre,” read the statement.
“Maria is conscious and medical assessments are ongoing. The team will await the outcome of these assessments before providing further comment. The team’s first priority at this time is Maria and her family.”
The straight-line aero running had been scheduled in order to assess the team’s first major aerodynamic upgrade package of the season ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
Listen below to an eye-witness account of the incident from local radio reporter Chris Mann