July 04, 2012

F1 Dodges Tragedy; Merely Terrible

Awful news from the F1 world as Marussia test driver Maria De Villota suffered severe injuries during a straight-line test at Duxford Aerodrome on Tuesday.  She had completed a series of runs in the MR01, and was bringing the car back to the temporary pit box the team had set up at the airport.  The engine had been heard to be misfiring, hardly uncommon when you're talking about something as finely tuned as a V8 engine that produces 800hp at 18000rpm.  The MR01 had nearly stopped when it suddenly jerked and accelerated to around 40mph before running into the lowered tailgate of the team's car transporter.  It's thought that the engine went into anti-stall mode, though a different malfunction or driver error can not yet be ruled out.

As one could expect, the tailgate/truck combination did not move when the lightweight F1 car struck it.  De Villota suffered serious injuries to the head and face.  Reports are that it took a very long time to extract her from the car, but that there were EMTs on site immediately.  Taken to a nearby hospital, she was reported to have suffered "life-threatening" injuries.  Earlier today, Marussia reported that she is currently in critical but stable condition.  Terribly, the doctors have reported that she's lost her right eye. 

One of two female drivers associated with F1 teams (along with Susie Wolff of Williams), it's quite possible that De Villota would have become the first woman to drive in a modern F1 race.  While not as obviously talented as Wolff, she was in a team more likely to go for the headlines (and money).  Chances are she would have done passably well; certainly no worse than some drivers we've seen.  While it is possible to obtain a FIA superlicense despite missing an eye, it seems unlikely considering her advanced age; she's 32, which is rather old for a rookie driver by F1 standards.

We here at F1Update! wish her a speedy recovery!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:32 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 This is really sad news. Her recovery is unlikely to be very rapid; they'll be doing reconstruction, which is slow and painful.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 05, 2012 12:28 PM (+rSRq)

2 God bless her.  I saw the story in the Pud Dealer this a.m.  She is a champ and will do her best.  She could even shock herself...

Posted by: The Old Man at July 05, 2012 01:02 PM (dBz2M)

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