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Formula One driver Maria de Villota clings to life after crash

32-year-old Spaniard hits truck while testing new vehicle.
Maria de villota injuredEnlarge
Maria de Villota of Spain signs autographs during previews to the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix in Monte Carlo on May 25, 2012. (Mark Thompson/AFP/Getty Images)

Maria de Villota, one of two women on the Formula 1 racing circuit, crashed today during training and remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

The 32-year-old Spaniard was testing Team Marussia’s new car, the MR-01, for the first time when she collided with a transport truck at a facility in England.

“She was testing the car for the first time,” a team release said. “The accident happened at the end of her first installation run and involved an impact with the team’s support truck. Maria has been transferred to hospital. Once her medical condition has been assessed a further statement will be issued.”

The crash happened about 9:15 am local time at Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire.

De Villota’s father, Emilio, is a former F1 driver.

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She grew up racing on the Spanish F3 and Daytona 24-Hour circuits, and is the first full-time woman with F1 since Italian Giovanna Amati in 1992, The Associated Press reported.

The car had reached speeds of 200 mph, but was slowing as it completed testing when de Villota crashed with the truck, CNN said.

She suffered “severe facial and head injuries,” according to the network.

Chris Mann, a BBC presenter, said de Villota suddenly accelerated and collided with the back of the truck that transports the car to the track.

“The top of her car and her helmet seemed to take the brunt of it,” he said. “She didn't move for about 15 minutes. It was an absolutely awful moment.”

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