A female test driver for Formula One who was seriously injured this morning after an accident at a circuit in Cambridgeshire has regained consciousness and managed to speak to her family by phone from her hospital bed.
Maria De Villota, 32, was taking part in her first test for the Marussia F1 team at Duxford Airfield ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix when she 'inexplicably accelerated' to about 40mph into a support truck after completing her opening lap.
Her father Emilio De Villota, who confirmed this afternoon that she had suffered injuries to her face, told Spanish website CarandDriverTheF1.com he had spoken to her shortly before boarding a flight to London to rush to her bedside.
Team Marussia also confirmed the driver was conscious and medical assessments were 'ongoing'.
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Maria De Villota at a photo call this morning, and in the Marussia car at Duxford Airfield, Cambridgeshire, shortly before the accident
Emergency workers and Marussia F1 staff gather around the car still wedged under the support truck. According to eyewitnesses, the accident occurred after De Villota had pulled up in front of her mechanics after completing her first lap of the day and 'inexplicably accelerated' into the lorry
Emergency workers and Marussia F1 staff at the scene at Duxford today
Racing in the blood: De Villota is the daughter of former Formula One driver Emilio De Villota
MARIA DE VILLOTA AND HER DRIVING PASSION
Born: January 13, 1980 in Madrid, Spain.
Family: Father Emilio De Villota was Formula One driver between 1976 and 1982. Brother Emilio De Villota Jnr is also a racing driver.
2012: Marussia (test driver)
2011: Renault (test driver)
Previous racing career
2009: Formula Palmer Audi
2009: Trofeo Abarth Europe
2008: Euroseries 3000
2008: Italian Superstars
2007: ADAC Procar - Division I
2007: Spanish GT Championship
2005–06: Ferrari Challenge Europe
2001–05: Spanish F3
An air ambulance spokesman earlier confirmed the driver had suffered serious head and facial injuries.
According to eyewitnesses, the accident occurred after the Spaniard pulled up in front of her mechanics after completing her first lap of the day, during which she reached speeds of about 200mph.
As the mechanics approached to wheel the car back for service, it accelerated forwards and crashed into the stationary vehicle parked nearby.
The front of the Marussia car was destroyed in the crash and De Villota's helmet was seen to impact with the side of the truck.
De Villota was reportedly motionless for around 15 minutes as paramedics tended to her trackside.
However, she was seen to move her hands before being transported to the local Addenbrooke's hospital.
Following news of the crash, top Formula 1 drivers from around the world posted messages of support on Twitter.
McLaren driver Jenson Button wrote: 'Terrible accident for Maria de Villota, Marussia F1 team test driver. My thoughts are with Maria and her family at this very difficult time.'
Toro Rosso F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo said: 'Let’s put Maria De Villota in our hearts today.'
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Fellow Spanish F1 driver Fernando Alonso said: 'I just got home and found out Maria’s accident, we called the family and hopefully we will know more soon! All my energy with you!'
Gary Sanderson, spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service, 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.'
BBC Cambridgeshire presenter Chris Mann, who was at the Imperial War Museum-owned airfield when the accident happened, said the car 'inexplicably accelerated' into the back of the team's parked support truck.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-21...l#ixzz1zZzJrpF0