[Updated 16:00 BST) Maria de Villota, the Marussia test driver, has been seriously injured in a straight line aero test session at Duxford Aerodrome, according to local emergency services.
De Villota was in the early stages of a day of driving the Marussia car for the first time in the programme when she made contact with a truck.
An exact report of what happened has not been issued yet, but it seems she was at the end of an initial run and was manoeuvring close to the team’s operations tent, when she ran into the tailgate of a support truck, which struck her helmet.
The resulting injuries were described by the local ambulance service as “life threatening” and she was transferred to Adenbrookes’ Hospital in Cambridge, one of the UKs’s leading hospitals.
Around midday a report emerged that she was in a stable condition with head and face injuries.
A statement from Marussia at 15:00 BST said, “Since Maria’s arrival at the hospital at approximately 10.45hrs this morning, she has been receiving the best medical attention possible at the hospital, which is the region’s major trauma centre. Maria is conscious and medical assessments are ongoing. The team will await the outcome of these assessments before providing further comment.
“The team’s first priority at this time is Maria and her family.”
An earlier statement from the team had announced the accident like this, “At approximately 09.15hrs BST this morning, the Marussia F1 Team’s Test Driver 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 accident happened at the end of her first installation run and involved an impact with the team’s support truck.
“Maria has been transferred to hospital. Once her medical condition has been assessed a further statement will be issued.”
Local police added that the accident was “low speed” while an East of England Ambulance service spokesman said, “A woman has sustained life threatening injuries and following treatment at the scene by paramedics, she has been taken to Addenbrookes Hospital for further care.”
The Duxford test was a significant one for the team, to confirm the new aerodynamic package on the Marussia, as team principal John Booth explained earlier in the week,
“We have a fairly significant upgrade for this race, comprising a new rear wing, exhausts, floor and side pods. I would have to describe this as our ‘first proper wind-tunnel generated upgrade of the season’; this is the first fully developed package that is not just a modification of existing elements.
“That is a big result in itself, aside from the performance step we hope it will bring us, as it means we have caught up with ourselves in terms of the diligent way in which we have approached and developed our Technical Partnership.
“We look forward to seeing what this brings, both at Silverstone and at Duxford Airfield beforehand, when we will be integrating the developments into our correlation programme. Duxford is also the first of our Test Driver Maria De Villota’s scheduled track days. She has been waiting patiently all year for this date to come around, so we look forward to seeing her in the car for the first time.”
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