October 10th, 2012 (F1plus Team).- There is no doubt about the strength of this woman. Maria de Villota, was no long ago one of the two female test drivers currently in Formula 1 (being the other Williams' Susie Wolff as Development Driver), until a fierce crash during a training session just cut that plan short.
The Madrid born driver and daughter of former F1 driver Emilio de Villota, Maria, went for regular straight line training exercise at Duxford Aerodrome when car collided with a stationary truck at the end of a test run.
It took about an hour to release her from the wreckage. It was estimated that speed at the time of the impact to be around 4o-50 Mph. She was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridgeshire, with life-threatening head and facial injuries.
At the end, she was out of mortal danger, but as a consequence of her injuries, she lost her right eye and suffers from concurrent headaches.
In her first public appearance, she has revealed that she remembers everything from the accident.
"I remember everything - even the moment of the impact. When I woke up everybody was around me and they didn't even know if I was going to speak, or how I was going to speak. I started speaking in English because I thought I was on an FIA check-up and that the nurse was a trainer. Then my dad said 'Please, Maria, speak Spanish, because your mother is missing half the things', and then I became aware of everything: of what had happened, where I was and why.” María de Villota said to the Spanish Magazine !HOLA!
The 32-year-old says that the accident and the consequent injuries have made her realize the value of other things in life beyond racing and Formula 1.
“The accident has given me a new perspective about life, about the things that matter. It has taught me that to achieve what you want you have to educate yourself in sacrifice through effort. Now I have just one eye maybe I perceive more things than before. Before this, my life was a race against the clock, and now I see you have to stop and measure things in a different way.”
MAria de Villota featured in the lastest edition of HOLA!
As expected she was shocked when she saw herself in the mirror and realized the extent of her injuries, but for her the worst is over, she will move on.
“In the beginning they were covering it [the eye] so I couldn't see it. The first day I looked at myself in the mirror I had 140 black stitches on my face, and they looked like they had been stitched with a boat rope, and I had lost my right eye. I was terrified. I have to undergo more surgery soon, but the worst is now behind.
I have headaches that they don't know how long will last - maybe years. I have to control my efforts a lot because of the cranial pressure. I have also lost smell, and taste, which is linked to smell. Now I like things with a very strong taste." De Villota added later."