Maria de Villota, Formula One test driver, was found dead at 33 in a Seville hotel room. De Villota was a reserve driver in 2012 for the Marussia team, and her first F1 run left her with serious injuries after she crashed during a test event in June 2012.

The accident left her with head injuries and she lost her right eye as a result of the crash. Following De Villota’s recovery, the driver continued to be an active participant in the sport and will be remembered as the first Spanish woman to drive a Forumla one car. She reportedly died from neurological damage suffered during the crash.

“Maria left us while she was sleeping, approximately at 6 a.m., as a consequence of the neurological injuries that she suffered in July of 2012, according to what the forensic doctor has told us. Maria is gone, but she has left us a very clear message of joy and hope, which is helping the family move on in these moments,” De Villota’s sister, Isabel, said in a statement

On Sunday, Formula One racing gathers for the Suzuka Circuit grand prix in Japan, and the community has also gathered together to pay their respects.


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“The whole paddock is very shocked by the news that Maria is no longer with us. She was an inspiration not just to women in the sport, but also to all those who suffered life-threatening injuries,” said Martin Whitmarsh, chairman of Formual One Teams’ Association, in a statement.

The Marussia team also issued a statement, sending their support to De Villota’s family, as did Mercedes and countless other members of the racing community.

– Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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