3rd Jul 2012 12:49pm | By Rebecca Kent
A female Formula One test driver has come close to death after crashing her race car on a Cambridge race track.
Spaniard Maria de Villota, 32, who joined Marussia as a test driver this year, was driving an MR-01 race car, which hit the team’s support truck that transported the vehicle there.
Trackside paramedics treated her before she was transferred Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where she is said to be in a stable condition.
Although, a spokesperson from the medical charity Magpas which was at the scene, told the BBC she had suffered “facial and head” injuries.
De Villota had just completed the opening installation lap when, according to eyewitnesses, she pulled up in front of her mechanics.
As the mechanics approached the car is said to have lurched forwards and crashed into the truck which was stationary at the time.
It was De Villot’s first time behind the wheel of the car for the Marussia team, which is based at Duxford airfield.
And the crash comes a week before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
BBC Cambridgeshire presenter Chris Mann, who witnessed the crash, described how the race car jumped forward.
He said: “Strangely, the car suddenly accelerated into the lorry and the car went careering into the side of the loading board.”
The driver’s helmet appeared to take the brunt of the impact.
F1 driver Jenson Button said on Twitter: "Terrible accident for Maria de Villota, Marussia F1 team test driver.
"My thoughts are with Maria and her family at this very difficult time."