Former Marussia test driver Maria de Villota dies age 33

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Former Marussia test driver Maria de Villota has died at the age of 33, it has been confirmed by her family.

A statement from the de Villota family reads:

“Dear friends: Maria is gone. She had to go to heaven with all of the angels. Give thanks to God for the year and a half we had left together. Signed, the Villota family.”

The Spaniard had been in Seville to launch her new autobiography “Life is a Gift” that talked about her horrific accident in a straight-line test for Marussia that saw her lose her right eye eighteen months ago.

According to a report from Radio Cadena Ser (based in Seville), de Villota was found dead in her hotel room at 7:00am on Friday morning, and despite the best efforts of the emergency services, she could not be resuscitated.

The daughter of former grand prix driver Emilio, de Villota had been one of the most prominent women in Formula One until her accident last season. Having undertaken tests with Lotus at the end of 2011, de Villota joined Marussia and played a support role to full-time drivers Charles Pic and Timo Glock.

However, in July of last year, an accident saw de Villota’s Marussia crash into the back of a team truck, leaving her with severe head injuries that resulted in the loss of her right eye. She still remained involved with Formula One after the accident though, appearing in the paddock at the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year.

Following the news, teams and drivers took to Twitter to lend their support to de Villota’s family and friends.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”