Maria de Villota's 2012 Marussia F1 test crash details explained

Maria de Villota was "fighting" the Marussia Formula 1 car and struggling to slow down when she crashed into an articulated trailer during a test in 2012, documents have revealed

Maria de Villota's 2012 Marussia F1 test crash details explained

The Health and Safety Executive, whose remit is to investigate incidents where someone has been injured as a result of a work activity, last month concluded no action will be taken against the parties involved.

De Villota's injuries in the crash included the loss of her right eye.

Part of the HSE's report has been released to AUTOSPORT through the Freedom of Information Act.

The straightline test took place at Duxford Aerodrome on July 3 2012, a day after de Villota had a seat-fitting in the car.

According to the report, the Spaniard said she could not operate the clutch when the steering was on full-lock but was told "it does not matter as there would be no need for full-lock during the straightline test".

She was also given notes from the race engineer ahead of the drive, but these did not feature information about stopping the car or "which gears should be selected when arriving at the pitlane".

The report added that a standard trailer, rather than the usual race trailer, was used, and it had an "unusual" and "larger" tail-lift.

De Villota began the day by completing a drive in a saloon car with her race engineer where the programme was explained to her, however the report added the stopping procedure was not discussed.

The report said the Spaniard completed two runs up the runway successfully and on returning to the garage area, with the car travelling at 45 km/h, she braked and the car continued to slow.

As the engine dropped to 4100rpm and with the gear still engaged, the engine idle control attempted to prevent the speed dropping further in a bid to stop the engine stalling.

"This is the start of the first of three periods of oscillation in the data which show that the car is 'fighting' the driver," said the report, which added the Spaniard had "not been provided with any information on how the engine idle control would affect the stopping performance of the car".

De Villota said in the report that she had pressed the button to unlock the clutch, but it did not work.

The front-right wheel locked, with de Villota trying to steer the car to the right. As she braked harder, the front-left wheel then locked.

She then attempted to change down from second to first gear, but the change was rejected as the torque was greater than 100Nm.

De Villota eased off the brakes, allowing the wheels to turn, but re-applied the brakes and that caused the left-front to lock again.

The report said "the car was pushed along the apron of the runway into the tail-lift of the trailer".

De Villota had thought she would miss the lorry but the report said: "the tail-lift had been left in a position which not only created risk of injury, but was also protruding outwards at the level of the DP's [deceased person's] eye."

It also said the team was "relying on the skill and experience of the driver".

De Villota died in October 2013 at the age of 33.

Maria de Villota obituary

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