Skip to content

Tributes pour in for ‘inspirational’ de Villota

Oct 11, 2013, 9:00 AM EST

Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Race Getty Images

The Formula One world has paid its respects to Maria de Villota after the former Marussia test driver passed away this morning at the age of 33.

de Villota was brought up with motorsport in her veins, with her father Emilio competing in fifteen grands prix in the late seventies and early eighties. After initially testing with Lotus in 2011, she joined Marussia in 2012 as a test driver before her accident last July which left her with severe head injuries and resulted in the loss of her right eye. de Villota returned to the paddock back in May for the Spanish Grand Prix, and was a highly popular member of the Formula One family.

FIA President Jean Todt released a statement on Friday in Suzuka saying: “Today is a tragic day for motorsport. My deepest condolences go to the de Villota family. Maria was a fantastic driver, a leading light for women in motorsport and a tireless campaigner for road safety. Above all she was a friend I deeply admired.”

Her former team, Marussia, also sent their condolances to her family and friends. “It is with great sadness that we learned a short time ago of the news that Maria de Villota has passed away,” a statement from the team read. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Maria’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”

McLaren team principal and President of the Formula One Teams’ Association Martin Whitmarsh expressed his high regard for de Villota, calling her an “inspiration.”

“The whole paddock is very shocked by the news that Maria is no longer with us,” Whitmarsh said. “She was an inspiration not just to women in this sport, but also to all those who suffered life-threatening injuries. Her story, determination and subsequent inspiration flowed from F1 through sport as a whole, and to see the images of her in Barcelona on the grid earlier this year, surrounded by a throng of jubilant children (pictured), told a great story.”

Many F1 drivers and personalities took to Twitter to lend their support to the de Villota family.

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR considers unveiling 2016 rules at Sprint All-Star Race in May

    Jan 26, 2015, 8:45 PM EST

    NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race

    NASCAR heavily is considering using the May 16 showcase as a trial run of the rules package for the 2016 season and has begun informing Sprint Cup teams of the possibility.

  2. Indy Lights: Spencer Pigot, Ed Jones top 1st day of Homestead road course test

    Jan 26, 2015, 8:33 PM EST

    IndyLightsLogo

    Quick recap for Day 1 of 3 in South Florida for the Indy Lights contingent.

  3. Kyle Busch says Toyota teams are “idiots” by not working close together

    Jan 26, 2015, 8:06 PM EST

    34th Annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona 34th Annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona

    Kyle Busch say that he doesn’t see Toyota partners Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing working closely together and that “we’re idiots” for not doing so.

  4. Kyle Busch has a message for those confusing him with his brother

    Jan 26, 2015, 7:04 PM EST

    Kyle Busch Kyle Busch

    Kyle Busch is not pleased with those who have confused him with his brother in reporting on Kurt Busch’s recent court matter.

  5. NASCAR: Joe Gibbs Racing prepares for new era as 4-car team (VIDEO)

    Jan 26, 2015, 6:05 PM EST

    NASCAR Sprint Media Tour  - Day 1 Getty Images

    Will its expansion help or hurt its hopes of a Sprint Cup title?

  6. Cast your vote: Which Joe Gibbs Racing driver will have the best season in 2015?

    Jan 26, 2015, 4:54 PM EST

    Joe Gibbs Racing's roster for 2015 (from left): Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Xfinity Series driver Daniel Suarez and Kyle Busch. AP

    Which Joe Gibbs Racing driver will have the best season in 2015? Newcomer Carl Edwards, or Matt Kenseth, or JGR stalwarts Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin?

  7. Brian France: State of NASCAR is in a good place and getting better

    Jan 26, 2015, 4:38 PM EST

    bzf media day 2015 Getty Images

    After last year’s exciting Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR chairman Brian France painted a very positive state of the sport Monday. There are still challenges, but NASCAR is working at fixing those.

  8. NASCAR not looking to expand four-car limit for teams

    Jan 26, 2015, 4:05 PM EST

    Brian France News Conference Brian France News Conference

    NASCAR Chairman Brian France says series officials are not looking to eliminate the four-car limit for teams.

  9. NASCAR: No early exit expected for title sponsor Sprint

    Jan 26, 2015, 3:58 PM EST

    Sprint All-Star Race Getty Images

    The wireless communications company already has announced its departure after the end of its contract in 2016

  10. NASCAR: Drive For Diversity class of ’15 announced; update on Daytona Rising

    Jan 26, 2015, 3:30 PM EST

    nascar logo 2014 Getty Images

    Devon Amos, Jay Beasley, Collin Cabre, Natalie Decker, Kenzie Ruston, and Dylan Smith part of this year’s D4D program; an update on Daytona Rising renovation project.

  11. Hendrick Motorsports pit coach leaves sport

    Jan 26, 2015, 3:22 PM EST

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    Greg Morin, a pit coach overseeing the crews of Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr., is leaving his position after January.

  12. NASCAR outlaws the practice of flared fender side skirts

    Jan 26, 2015, 3:08 PM EST

    NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell Getty Images

    NASCAR has outlawed the practice of teams manipulating — or flaring out — of rear side skirts to produce an aerodynamic advantage.

  13. F1: Bottas, then Massa in new Williams FW37 at Jerez test

    Jan 26, 2015, 1:25 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi Getty Images

    The Grove gang reveals its lineup for the first F1 preseason test of 2015.

  14. NASCAR: GameStop in for 10 races on Erik Jones’ XFINITY ride with Gibbs

    Jan 26, 2015, 12:00 PM EST

    DAV 200 - Honoring America's Veterans Getty Images

    Video game retail company continues support of Joe Gibbs Racing’s XFINITY Series program.

  15. F1: Ferrari reveals official name for 2015 car – the SF15-T

    Jan 26, 2015, 11:30 AM EST

    Italy F1 Ferrari Vettel AP

    Official launch of the new car is set for Friday.

  16. NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett to join NASCAR coverage on NBC, NBCSN

    Jan 26, 2015, 11:09 AM EST

    Dale Jarrett Getty 2014 Getty Images

    NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett will join NBC and NBCSN’s coverage of NASCAR in 2015, it was announced Monday.

  17. National Motorsports Press Association honors Lynda Petty, Kevin Harvick and others for service, achievement

    Jan 26, 2015, 10:31 AM EST

    Richard and Lynda Petty AP

    Richard Petty’s late wife, Lynda, and 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick were among those who were honored during Sunday’s National Motorsports Press Association annual awards banquet.

  18. F1: Lotus releases images of its new Mercedes-powered E23

    Jan 26, 2015, 10:10 AM EST

    Credit: Lotus F1 Team Credit: Lotus F1 Team

    Lotus hopes to put a less-than-competitive 2014 to rest with the help of its new car.

  19. NASCAR Media Tour begins today, but drivers still in idle

    Jan 26, 2015, 9:36 AM EST

    GoDaddy Bowl - Toledo v Arkansas State Getty Images

    A long layoff has drivers such as Danica Patrick ready ‘to take out this aggression somewhere right now.’

  20. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ponders a 24-hour NASCAR race

    Jan 25, 2015, 11:33 PM EST

    Dale Jr. TaxSlayer Bowl 2015 Getty Images

    A big fan of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Jr. posed a rather interesting question to his Twitter followers: Could NASCAR ever do — let alone consider — a 24-hour race?

Video from NASCAR America

Gordon hesitant to call it 'retirement'
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (2066)
  2. K. Schrader (1669)
  3. J. Clements (1635)
  4. K. Grala (1605)
  5. S. Gallagher (1603)
  1. R. Hornaday Jr. (1545)
  2. M. Lira (1486)
  3. M. Waltrip (1483)
  4. B. Scott (1454)
  5. B. Vickers (1430)