De Villota family overwhelmed by support

The sister of Maria De Villota has revealed her family have been overwhelmed by the "expression of love and support".

Motorsports News: Maria De Villota.

The Marussia team has begun the business of attempting to focus on this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone just 48 hours after the tragic incident at Duxford Airfield on Tuesday which robbed their test driver of sight in her right eye.

With De Villota still in a "critical but stable condition" at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge following around 12 hours of surgery, it was clear there was a subdued atmosphere around the Banbury-based marque in the paddock.

Appreciably in such circumstances, the Formula One community was at least providing its own crutch for the team to lean on, with a number of drivers showing compassion and warmth.

World champions Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher led the chorus of sympathy and understanding for De Villota, who will never competitively take part in another motor race.

At Addenbrooke's, sister Isabel and Maria's mother and father are keeping a constant vigil at the bedside of the 32-year-old Spaniard, who has been inundated with flowers and messages of goodwill.

Isabel said: "We have at least been able to take encouragement from the fact Maria has remained stable throughout since the accident, particularly during the first night following such a lengthy surgical procedure as she experienced.

"We, the family, are supporting each other at Maria's side and we take great comfort from the remarkable medical care she has been receiving.

"We remain positive, and this is due in no small part, to the overwhelming expression of love and support for Maria from every corner of the world.

"We would also wish to thank everyone at Marussia for all the care and attention they have shown us over the past few days."

The circumstances surrounding the accident, which saw De Villota run into the tailgate of a support truck at low speed soon after completing an installation run ahead of a straight-line aerodynamic test, remain a mystery.

Marussia are conducting an internal investigation into the cause, but, regardless of the findings, the chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association believes changes in safety need to be made.

HRT driver Pedro de la Rosa said: "We will put the facts on the table to see if there is anything we need to change to improve.

"When an accident happens, it means that something didn't work properly.

"We need to make sure, between the FIA, the teams and the GPDA, that we make changes for the future because it's not good enough.

"The first thing we need to do is understand what happened, what safety measures were taken and how the airfield was prepared for Formula One testing."



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