A Formula 1 test driver who lost an eye in a crash at Imperial War Museum Duxford has died more than a year after sustaining the horrific injuries.
Spanish racing driver Maria De Villota died as a consequence of the injuries she suffered during the crash last at the former RAF Duxford in July 2012.
De Villota, 33, was found dead in a hotel room in Seville, Spain, on Friday (October 11).
The F1 reserve driver lost her right eye in a crash in July 2012, while testing for the Marussia team.
A forensic doctor told the family she had died ‘as a consequence of the neurological injuries she suffered’ in the incident.
De Villota needed lengthy surgery on serious head and facial injuries after colliding with a lorry at Duxford IWM, but had been cleared to resume driving.
The family statement said: “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.”
The potential link between De Villota’s crash in 2012 and her death is being investigated by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive.
A HSE spokesman said the authority ‘would expect to be kept informed of any new evidence’.
Banbury-based Marussia said last year the car was not a factor in the accident.
De Villota, daughter of former Formula 1 driver Emilio, was reported to have been in Seville to launch her autobiography.
A police spokeswoman said her body was found at around 7am at the Hotel Sevilla Congresos.
She previously competed in her country’s Formula 3 competition and the Daytona 24 Hours race in the USA.
De Villota, who had been in motor racing for 12 years, first drove a Formula 1 car when testing for Lotus Renault two years ago.
For all the latest news and sport see Thursday’s (October 17) Echo.