Driver hurt in F1 testing crash

Formula One: Marussia take on female test driver Maria de VillotaMaria de Villota joined Marussia as a test driver earlier this year

A Formula 1 driver has suffered life-threatening injuries after crashing during testing in Cambridgeshire.

Maria de Villota was hurt while driving a car for the Oxfordshire-based Marussia team at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.

The car hit a lorry which had been used to take it to the track.

The East of England Ambulance Service said the Spaniard, 32, had suffered life-threatening injuries.

BBC Cambridgeshire presenter Chris Mann, who witnessed the crash, said the car had completed a circuit when it “suddenly accelerated” into the back of the lorry.

“From where I was standing it looked like the helmet took the brunt of the impact,” he said.

‘Terrible moment’

“Strangely, the car suddenly accelerated into the lorry and the car went careering into the side of the loading board.”

He added: “There was a terrible moment when everyone was just very shocked by the impact and the suddenness of what had happened.”

A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said: “We were notified by the ambulance service of a slow-speed crash involving a racing car and a lorry.

“It looks like the driver has suffered a serious injury and we will be notifying the Health and Safety Executive as it happened on private land.”

East of England Ambulance Service spokesman Gary Sanderson said: “A woman has sustained life-threatening injuries and following treatment at the scene by paramedics, she has been taken to Addenbrookes Hospital for further care.”

The crash happened at the start of two days of Formula 1 testing at the site.

F1 ambition

Marussia entered the sport under the name Virgin in 2010, backed by businessman Richard Branson.

Russian car company Marussia acquired a controlling stake in the team toward the end of 2011.

In 2012, the team rebranded as Marussia, and drafted in Charles Pic to race alongside Timo Glock.

The team has not scored any points so far this season.

When Villota was unveiled as a test driver for Marussia in March, the 32-year-old Spaniard said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with a Formula 1 team and gain important experience to help me progress my career, including the chance to drive the new car later in the year at the Abu Dhabi test.”

She added that the move “can only help my future ambition to step up to F1 racing”.

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