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Tuesday 23 September 2014

F1: Female test driver Maria de Villota found dead in hotel

Rodrigo de Miguel

Published 11/10/2013 | 09:03

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Maria De Villota during practice at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona in May this year
Maria De Villota during practice at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona in May this year
Marussia Formula One test driver Maria de Villota of Spain at the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne in March 2012
Marussia Formula One test driver Maria de Villota of Spain at the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne in March 2012
Marussia Formula One test driver Maria de Villota of Spain smiles during a news conference in Madrid in October 2012, her first public appearance after losing her right eye in an accident
Marussia Formula One test driver Maria de Villota of Spain smiles during a news conference in Madrid in October 2012, her first public appearance after losing her right eye in an accident

SPANISH Formula One test driver Maria de Villota, one of the few women to come near to competing at the top of the sport, has been found dead in a hotel in the southern Spanish city of Seville.

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De Villota, 33, lost her right eye and fractured her skull in a horrific accident at a straight-line test at Duxford airfield in England in July 2012. She recovered from life-threatening injuries but no longer competed.

"We are assuming it was a natural death, but we cannot confirm anything," a police spokeswoman said, adding that forensic scientists and police from the homicide unit were to examine the scene.

De Villota was appointed test driver for Anglo-Russian Formula One team Marussia last year, before her crash. However she never took part in a general test with other drivers.

Only a handful of women have driven Formula One cars in the last decade and none has come near to racing one in competition.

Reuters

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