Almost eight months after losing her right eye in a testing accident, former Marussia test driver Maria de Villota has been cleared to drive again.
The Spanish racer told AFP that while she still suffers from headaches and that “very busy days take their toll,” her recovery has gone well. In addition, her love for driving is still intact despite her ordeal.
“The distances I can already calculate quite well and it feels like nothing ever happened,” said de Villota, the daughter of former F1 driver Emilio de Villota. “At the end of the day, my natural habitat is in a car and I am happiest in that environment. I missed it.”
De Villota was injured on July 3, 2012 at Duxford Airfield in England after crashing into the back of a Marussia support truck following the end of her first straight-line test run.
Last October, she spoke of the incident at a press conference in Madrid, Spain, and revealed a newfound appreciation for life as a whole.
“Before, I only saw F1, I saw myself in a car competing. I did not see what was important in life, the clarity to say: ‘I am alive,'” she said in Madrid. “It has given me my bearings, given me back what’s important. I accept it with the energy to say I am going to live out this chance 100%.”
We certainly wish Maria de Villota all the best in her continued recovery.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.