Car not to blame for De Villota accident

Updated: July 16, 2012

Marussia has ruled out a problem with its car as the cause of Maria De Villota’s recent testing accident, after concluding its own investigation into what happened.

De Villota lost her right eye and suffered facial and head injuries in the incident at Duxford, when she crashed at slow speed in to the back of a truck as she conducted straight-line aerodynamic work.

Although the specific reason of what caused the accident has not been confirmed yet Marussia has revealed via a statement this morning that the crash was not caused by a failure on the car.

The team issued the below statement on their website: “14 days after Maria De Villota’s accident at Duxford Airfield, the Marussia F1 Team has now completed its own detailed investigation into the cause of the crash.

The accident occurred on 3 July during a straight-line test, at which Maria was making her testing debut for the Team and driving an F1 car for the fourth time in her career.

The Marussia F1 Team conducted an initial analysis immediately after the crash. This aimed to identify the causes and contributory factors behind the accident and also served to determine if there were any car-related implications for the impending British Grand Prix. Having carefully examined all the data and supplementary information available at that time, the Team were satisfied that there were no such car-related issues and cleared its chassis for race weekend participation.

Following its initial investigation, the Team proceeded to carry out further detailed analysis of the accident. An external forensic investigation was commissioned and carried out at Duxford Airfield (a FIA-approved and much used testing venue, compliant with the recommendations for a test of this nature) and with the team at the Marussia Technical Centre in Banbury. This external analysis has been carried out autonomously of the team’s own internal investigation.

As would be normal procedure, the Team’s findings have been shared with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the independent UK regulator which acts in the public interest in respect of work-related accidents.”

John Booth, Team Principal of the Marussia F1 Team, commented: “We are satisfied that the findings of our internal investigation exclude the car as a factor in the accident. We have shared and discussed our findings with the HSE for their consideration as part of their ongoing investigation. This has been a necessarily thorough process in order to understand the cause of the accident. We have now concluded our investigatory work and can again focus on the priority, which continues to be Maria’s wellbeing. In that regard, we continue to support Maria and the De Villota family in any way we can.”

De Villota’s condition has improved steadily in the last two weeks and she is now out of sedation in hospital and able to talk to her family as she continues her recovery.

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