de Villota’s death “a consequence of neurological injuries”

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Maria de Villota’s death has been linked to the injuries that she suffered whilst undertaking a straight-line test in the UK last July.

The 33-year-old died yesterday morning, and her sister Isabel has released a statement on Saturday.

“Maria left us while she was sleeping, approximately at 6am, as a consequence of the neurological injuries that she suffered in July of 2012, according to what the forensic doctor has told us,” the statement read.

“Maria is gone, but she has left us a very clear message of joy and hope, which is helping the family move on in these moments.”

de Villota’s death has rocked the Formula One world during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, with many drivers and teams paying tribute to the Spanish driver who McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh called “an inspiration.”

Her accident last July left her with severe head injuries and resulted in the loss of her right eye, ending her motorsport career. However, de Villota appeared in the paddock at the Spanish Grand Prix back in May and was a beloved member of the Formula One family.

Drivers and teams will hold a minute’s silence before this weekend’s race in memory of the Spaniard.

Alonso would be ‘very happy’ to finish F1 career with McLaren

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Fernando Alonso says he would be “very happy” to see out his Formula 1 career with McLaren after signing a new multi-year contract with the British team, announced on Thursday.

Alonso, 36, ended speculation about his future by agreeing a new deal with McLaren, hopeful of returning to the front of the field next year when the team swaps Honda power for Renault engines.

Alonso admitted to considering options outside of F1 before agreeing to stay at McLaren, and was thought to only be chasing a one-year extension in order to be in a position to snap up a more attractive seat in the volatile 2019 market.

However, Alonso confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the deal with McLaren stretched beyond the end of next year, adding he would be content to see out his time in the sport with the team.

“I never talk about contracts, but one thing I can say is it is a long-term partnership,” Alonso said.

“I am very happy to finish my career at McLaren. So I don’t think it is going to be only one year.”

Alonso also revealed he had options with teams high up the field in F1 for 2018 just a couple of months ago, but was always leaning to staying at McLaren despite not scoring a podium with the team in almost three years.

“There were some other options in F1. In the summer there were still some options at the top teams, but my desire was to stay with McLaren,” Alonso said.

“But at that time they were in conversation with different engine suppliers, so I had to give them time to sort out their situation.

“Then McLaren opted for a Renault engine which delayed my decision, because I had to understand what Renault’s plans were for next years.

“But when I had everything on the table, everything was pretty clear.”