Maria de Villota, who months ago made headlines when she was hired by the Marussia team and became the only woman currently listed as a Formula 1 driver, has been seriously injured while testing today.
The 32-year-old driver crashed into a stationary vehicle during straight-line testing in an airfield in Cambridgeshire shortly after 9 a.m. local time, the Formula 1 website is reporting.
“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 Marussia team announced in a brief release, which also stated the driver had been transported to hospital. “The accident happened at the end of her first installation run and involved an impact with the team’s support truck.”
BBC Sport quotes emergency crews which attended to de Villota at the scene as saying that the driver had suffered “facial and head injuries” and was in stable condition when she arrived at the hospital.
The website also quotes Chris Mann, a BBC correspondent covering the incident, saying “The top of the car and her helmet seemed to take the brunt of it. She didn’t move for about 15 minutes.”
De Villota became only the sixth woman driver in the history of grand-prix racing when she was hired by the Marussia team in March 2012. The daughter of former F1 pilot Emilio de Villota had previously spent time in a Formula 1 car, having logged some 300 kilometres in the cockpit for Team Lotus, now the Caterham F1 team. De Villota has also raced in Spanish Formula Three, the 24 Hours of Daytona, Euroseries 3000 and the Superleague Formula championship.