The Marussia F1 team has announced that its investigations into María de Villota’s career-ending test accident less than two weeks have ago have since concluded. The Sheffield-based team has confirmed that a car failure was not to blame as a contributing factor in the Spanish driver’s freak accident.
Thirty-two-year-old de Villota suffered major head and facial injuries and the loss of her right eye after she was involved in a low-speed accident just minutes into the team’s scheduled straight-line test session at Duxford Airfield.
The Marussia test driver hit the loading deck of a stationary transport truck parked alongside the airfield’s runway shortly after completing her installation run in the car.
While official investigations into the accident – which are being conducted by two independent agencies, including the Healty & Safety Executive (HSE) – are still ongoing, Marussia has today issued a statement ruling out a failure in the car as the trigger for the crash.
“We are satisfied that the findings of our internal investigation exclude the car as a factor in the accident. We have shared and discussed our findings with the HSE for their consideration as part of their ongoing investigation,” Marussia team principal John Booth is quoted as saying.
Unfortunately Booth’s comments would indicate that driver error was the lead cause in triggering the accident. However, Marussia is likely to face tough scrutiny as to whether its decision to park that transporter so close to the side of the circuit was appropriate.
“This has been a necessarily thorough process in order to understand the cause of the accident,” Booth continued. “We have now concluded our investigatory work and can again focus on the priority, which continues to be María’s wellbeing. In that regard, we continue to support María and the De Villota family in any way we can.”
De Villota remains in recovery at her treating hospital in the UK, where she has remained since being brought there by ambulance. After several rounds of surgey to treat her injuries, the latest reports suggest de Villota has been eased out of her medically-induced coma and is able to talk to her family members, who rushed from Spain to be by her bedside.