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F1 Driver Maria de Villota Dead at Age 33

Bill Wilson

Sad news rocked the motorsports world yesterday. Maria de Villota, racer and Formula One test driver, was found dead in a Seville hotel room on October 11. It’s believed that she died as a result of complications stemming from a car wreck that occurred in July 2012.

De Villota was born in Madrid, Spain on January 11, 1980. Her racing career started in 2001 with the Spanish F3 series. During the first decade of the century she participated in eight other European motor series, including Euroseries 3000 and Italian Superstars. She made her Formula One test debut in a Renault R29. In March of 2012 she joined Marussia F1, an Anglo-Russian racing team, as a test driver.

Maria De Villota 2

Her health problems began immediately after her accident on July 3, 2012. She was doing straight-line testing in England when her vehicle collided with a truck at the end of the run. She was so entangled in the wreckage that it took rescue workers over an hour to remove her from the car. She was taken to a hospital in Cambridgeshire, UK with severe injuries to her face and skull.

She spent 17 days in the hospital before her release. She lost her right eye and suffered brain damage that caused her to lose her senses of smell and taste. She also suffered continued headaches as a result of the accident.

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Medical authorities believed that de Villota died from internal brain hemorrhaging caused by injuries sustained as a result of last year’s accident. She will be missed by her family, friends, and fans in the worldwide racing community. De Villota’s autobiography, entitled Life is a Gift, is set to be released on October 14th.

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Image Credit: AP