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Posted at 03:12 PM ET, 07/03/2012

F1 test driver Maria de Villota “conscious” after crash

Maria de Villota was seriously injured after a test run in a Formula One car. (Mark Thompson / Getty Images)
Maria de Villota, a Formula One test driver for Marussia, is conscious and has spoken to her family after suffering head and facial injuries in a freak accident today.

De Villota, 32, sustained head and facial injuries when her car accelerated and struck a a support truck after she had completed her opening lap at Duxford Airfield in England. Audio of the accident can be heard here; it contains profanity and is harrowing. A spokesman for the ambulance service that attended her initially called her injuries “life-threatening” and British media reported that she was fighting for her life. Marussia, in a statement, said she had regained consciousness at a Cambridgeshire hospital.

“Maria is conscious and medical assessments are ongoing,” Marussia’s statement said. “The team will await the outcome of these assessments before providing further comment. The team's first priority at this time is Maria and her family.”

Former Formula One driver Emilio de Villota told the Daily Mail that he had spoken briefly to his daughter before he left Spain to join her in England. She is the first full-time female F1 driver since Giovanna Amati of Italy and had Spanish F3 and Daytona 24-Hour experience.

Chris Mann, a BBC Cambridgeshire presenter who saw the crash, said that “the top of her car and her helmet seemed to take the brunt of it. She didn't move for about 15 minutes. It was an absolutely awful moment. I was surrounded by people that knew her very well, including family, friends, engineers, and her manager.”

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