Formula 1

De Villota 'awake and talking'

Formula One test driver Maria de Villota is awake and talking just days after losing an eye in a horrific crash in testing.

 
De Villota 'awake' - Formula 1Reuters
 

De Villota crashed during testing at Duxford airfield on Tuesday when a freak accident saw her collide with the tail lift at the rear of a Marussia team lorry.

The 32-year-old's team have confirmed that she is making great progress.

"We have great news about Maria. We've been hearing good things every day, and now the level of her medication has been reduced and she is talking with her family," said team boss John Booth.

Booth added that he and his team had been hugely touched by the support shown by other drivers in F1, which included Fernando Alonso dedicating pole position to the stricken driver.

"Alonso's gesture dedicating pole position to Maria was wonderful," he said.

The investigation into the crash is still ongoing, but F1 technical guru Charlie Whiting claimed it was a "one-in-five-million" freak occurrence.

"The circumstances were just so unique that it was just incredible bad luck," he said, adding that F1 is looking into better protection for drivers.

"With the kind of protection we are studying, an accident like that would be unlikely, but also the chances of repeating these same circumstances are so remote," he added.

"We're looking more at the case of an impact with a wheel, because this can happen several times in a year. Maria's circumstances may never occur again.

"We can only (bring in better head protection) as fast as we can, because it's a very complicated matter.

"In Maria's case, yes it (head protection) would have worked, but perhaps in many other cases the problems would be worse, like extraction or visibility.

"We have to make sure we aren't making something better for one type of accident but worse for three more."

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