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Maria De Villota, Marussia Formula 1 Driver, Regains Consciousness After 'Life Threatening' Injuries

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Racing driver Maria De Villota who suffered "life-threatening injuries" in a crash has regained consciousness.

De Villota, 32, was taking part in her first test for the Marussia Formula One team at Duxford Airfield when she crashed into a support truck.

Ms De Villota was treated at the trackside before being taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where it is understood she was treated for head and face injuries.

An ambulance spokesman had described her injuries as life-threatening but her condition is now understood to have improved.

In a statement Marussia said: "Since Maria's arrival at the hospital at approximately 10.45am, she has been receiving the best medical attention possible at the hospital, which is the region's major trauma centre.

"Maria is conscious and medical assessments are ongoing. 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."

maria de villota
De Villota prior to the Australian GP in March

Ms De Villota was conducting a straight-line aero test at the former Second World War site.

Early theories have suggested the anti-stall mechanism on the car kicked in as she approached a makeshift pit area, propelling her into the truck at 20-30mph.

Chris Mann, Drivetime presenter on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, witnessed the accident.

He said: "She got into the car, fired it up and did a test run at probably about 200mph in the rain.

"The car was slightly misfiring but there didn't seem to be any concerns.

"She came back into the area we were in with the engineers. She slowed down but then suddenly, inexplicably accelerated through the crowd and smashed into the side of the truck.

"The top of her car and her helmet seemed to take the brunt of it.

"She didn't move for about 15 minutes.

"After a while we thought we saw some movement of her hands but she appeared to be unconscious or unable to move for quite some time."

Ms De Villota, originally from Madrid, is the daughter of former Formula One driver Emilio De Villota.

Members of the Formula One community rallied around in support on social networking site Twitter.

McLaren star Jenson Button said: "Terrible accident for Maria De Villota, Marussia F1 team test driver. My thoughts are with Maria and her family at this very difficult time."

Ms De Villota's compatriot and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso added: "I just got home and found out Maria's accident, we called the family and hopefully we will know more soon! All my energy with you!"

A spokesman for Duxford airfield, home of the Imperial War Museum, said testing had been suspended while team personnel and medics assessed the situation.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched an investigation.

This year is the first season the team has competed as Marussia after the Russian sports car manufacturer bought a controlling stake in the former Virgin team.

Timo Glock and Charles Pic drive for its Formula 1 team, which is yet to score any points this season.

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