The tragic news emerged while the F1 cars were running in Suzuka on Friday afternoon that Maria de Villota has been found dead in a hotel room in Seville. She was 33.
The daughter of former F1 driver Emilio, she competed in F3, GTs and touring cars before getting her first experience of powerful single-seaters in the Superleague Formula in 2009.
She had a chance to test an old Renault F1 car at Paul Ricard in 2011, and that let to a testing deal with Marussia the following year.
Sadly on July 3 that year she was involved in a freak accident at Duxford Aerodrome which saw her strike the back of the open tail gate of a truck. She suffered terrible injuries and lost her right eye.
Her subsequent recovery and determination to rebuild her life offered a shining example to people in any walk of life, and she…
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