De Villota death ‘linked to crash’

Spanish racing driver Maria De Villota died as a consequence of the injuries she suffered during a crash last year, her family have been told.

De Villota, 33, was found dead in a hotel room in Seville, Spain on Friday.

The Formula 1 reserve driver lost her right eye in a crash in July 2012, while testing for the Marussia team.

In a statement, the family said a forensic doctor told them she had died “as a consequence of the neurological injuries she suffered”.

She suffered severe head and facial injuries when colliding with a lorry at Duxford Aerodrome, Cambridgeshire, while testing for the Banbury-based team, but had been cleared to resume driving.

The family statement added: “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 Britain’s Health and Safety Executive.

An HSE spokeswoman said the organisation “would expect to be kept informed of any new evidence”.

Marussia were cleared last year with regard to any potential fault relating to their car.

Formula 1 drivers will hold a minute’s silence at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, and dedicate the winner’s podium to De Villota.

A statement from the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA), which represents most competitors, said the silence would be held before the drivers’ parade at Suzuka.