F1 paddock pays tribute to de Villota
11 October 2013 – The Formula 1 fraternity is in a state of shock following the news of María de Villota's tragic death. Described as "an inspiration" after recovering from her horrific testing accident, statements of support from all sides of the paddock have flooded in.
A selection of statements from Formula 1 figures:
Jean Todt, FIA President: "Today is a tragic day for motorsport. My deepest condolences go to the de Villota family. María was a fantastic driver, a leading light for women in motor sport and a tireless campaigner for road safety. Above all she was a friend I deeply admired. Through her courage, strength and determination she transformed her personal misfortune on the track into a powerful message for road safety that was heard at race tracks and beyond around the world. María was a beloved member of the FIA family. Our thoughts go to her family today."
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: "It's hard to talk about María de Villota right now, as I had only just taken my helmet off, when I was told about her death and at the moment, I still can't believe it. Of course, it's very sad news for the world of motorsport as María was loved by everyone. Now, all we can do is pray for her and for her family."
Eric Boullier, Lotus: "We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of María de Villota earlier today. On behalf of the team here in Japan and back at Enstone, I would like to express our condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of María. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren: "The entire F1 community is very shocked by the news that María is no longer with us. She was an inspiration not just to women in this sport, but also to all those who suffered life-threatening injuries. Her story, determination and subsequent inspiration flowed from F1 through sport as a whole, and to see the images of her in Barcelona on the grid earlier this year, surrounded by a throng of jubilant children, told a great story. Maríaparticipated in the Manhattan Fans' Forum on behalf of her team, Marussia F1, last year, and made a lasting impression on the fans who attended. She will be sadly missed, and we wish to pass on our sincere condolences to her family."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber: "We are shocked to hear the news of María de Villota’s death and would like to offer our sincerest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to her family and friends for this tragic loss. If anybody represented strength and optimism, it was María. Her sudden death is a big loss to the motorsport world as she was an important ambassador for relaying important messages to the youth, and particularly girls that aspire to a career in motorsport. María was an example of someone who never gave up, she always had a smile on her face and we will dearly miss her."
Marussia: "It is with great sadness that we learned a short time ago of the news that María de Villota has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with María's family and friends at this very difficult time."
A life in photos for María de Villota