Maria de Villota makes first public appearance since crash

Maria de Villota has made her first public appearance following her life-threatening testing accident back in July, during a press conference in which she revealed the full extent of her injuries, in Madrid on Thursday

Maria de Villota makes first public appearance since crash

The Spaniard spent a month in hospital after crashing into an articulated trailer while carrying out a straightline test for Marussia at Duxford Aerodrome.

De Villota, 32, lost her right eye in the accident, as well as the senses of smell and taste and suffered significant damage to her skull.

It was revealed during the press conference attended by AUTOSPORT on Thursday that the she lost cranial mass and that she is to undergo further surgery in the future.

Doctors revealed an image of what her skull looked like after the crash [see image below].

De Villota admitted she has gained a new perspective on life, and said she was reluctant to accept she had lost her eye at first.

"One of the surgeons who had operated on me came up to me and said 'Maria, we saved your life,'" she said. "'I don't know if you remember you had a big accident but you are here with us. It's been hard, but we are happy we saved your life. But we need to tell you you have lost your eye.'

"In that moment, I asked the surgeon: 'Do you need both hands to operate?' and he said yes, and I said "Well, I'm a Formula 1 driver and I need both eyes.'

"And I told the poor man that it was my decision [to remove the eye], as if the poor man had a choice to do something."

"But then you realise it is something unprecedented, that you are feeling fine, and you realise that you see more than before. Because, before the accident, I only saw Formula 1, inside a car, competing, and I didn't see what was really important in life. At that point I wasn't appreciating the biggest thing, which was the person who had saved me.

"So this eye has made me find the way again and I'm seeing it that way. And this new opportunity I'm going to live it at 100 per cent."

De Villota insisted she had been overwhelmed by the messages of support received from all around the world.

"When I saw myself I thought 'Who is going to love me looking like this?' But since then I've realised they have loved more than in a whole life.

"I have enough love to cover this life and the next."

She made it clear she wanted to stay involved in motorsports in one way or another, but said at the moment she is saving her strength to recover as much as possible.

"I'm focusing on the operations I have left, and I want to be 100 percent ready," she said. "I still don't know what I'm going to do."

shares
comments
Jenson Button: McLaren still on target despite Red Bull and Twitter

Previous article

Jenson Button: McLaren still on target despite Red Bull and Twitter

Next article

Korean GP Preview: Red Bull on a charge?

Korean GP Preview: Red Bull on a charge?
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Pablo Elizalde
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory Plus

How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning Plus

The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning

Frank Gardner was the veteran of just eight grand prix starts. It could have been more, but why waste his talent if the cars weren't up to it? NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the life of one of racing's great characters

Formula 1
May 2, 2021
Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth Plus

Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth

Jean Todt has signalled that he will not stand for re-election as FIA president. MARK GALLAGHER analyses the strong credentials of one potential successor…

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao Plus

The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying

Formula 1
Apr 30, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Plus

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola, whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021