De Villota permitted to drive road car again
27 February 2013 – María de Villota has been cleared to get behind the wheel of a car for the first time since her horrific testing accident at Duxford last July. The Spaniard, who lost her right eye as a result of the crash which occurred during an aero test for Marussia, says although some tasks still pose a challenge, she is already in a 'much better' position.
"Last week they gave me permission to return to driving," 33-year-old de Villota explained. "I can already calculate the distances quite well and it feels like nothing ever happened. I feel very good. The doctors told me that it helps that I have never drank alcohol or smoked and that I was a sportswoman.
"I still feel a little weak and have headaches, but I am getting on well. Very busy days take their toll, but I am calm because I know everything is going well. To start with it was difficult just to do day-to-day things. Catching keys in flight or getting a glass of water was a problem, but now things are much better."
De Villota added that she hopes to work with governing body the FIA to further improve Formula 1 safety, with the 33-year-old determined to make a long-term contribution.
"When your life is saved, no one owes you anything," she commented. "I don't hold any rancour towards the sport. The only thing I want is for the safety in races and tests to be improved. I will collaborate with them on what is currently lacking. Moreover, I feel very grateful to all the teams and drivers who have supported me after the accident."