Crash injuries 'killed F1 driver'

Maria de Villota's family say doctors told them the Formula One driver died as a direct consequence of the testing accident she was involved in last year. The 33-year-old was found dead in a hotel Seville on Friday.

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Minute's silence for Spanish driver

Maria De Villota Credit: Jens BÃŒttner / DPA / Press Association Images

A minute's silence has been held at the Japanese Grand Prix in memory of the Formula One test driver Maria De Villota.

F1 drivers staged the tribute before the race. Maria De Villota's been described as an inspiration and leading light for women in motorsport.

Yesterday the Spanish test driver's family issued a statement saying that she died as a result of injuries she suffered after a crash in Cambridgeshire last year. Her body was found at a hotel in Spain on Friday.

De Villota death linked to F1 accident

Maria de Villota's family have said the Formula One driver died as a direct consequence of the testing accident she was involved in last year.

A statement issued by the family read: "Maria left us while she was sleeping as a consequence of the neurological injuries she suffered in July of 2012, according to what the forensic doctor has told us."

Maria de Villota was found dead in a hotel in Seville on Friday. Credit: Reuters

De Villota lost her right eye in the incident at Duxford Aerodrome 15 months ago, but following a month's recuperation in hospital she made a remarkable recovery.

The body of the former Marussia test driver, who was 33, was discovered at a hotel in Seville early yesterday.

Doctors later confirmed De Villota's death "was due to natural causes".

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Blundell: 'Maria would have been next female F1 driver'

María de Villota's manager, Mark Blundell, believes that the Spaniard would have been "the next female Formula One driver".

De Villota was found dead in a hotel room in Seville earlier this morning.

The 33-year-old's racing career was cut tragically short when she lost an eye in an accident at Cambridgeshire's Duxford Aerodrome last year.

However, Blundell believes that De Villota had the talent to become the first female driver to enter the Formula One World Championship since Giovanna Amati back in 1992.

Formula 1 teams lead tributes to test driver De Villota

Formula 1 racing teams Red Bull and Sauber have issued tributes to test driver Maria de Villota, who has died at the age of 33.

Sauber tweeted: "We are shocked to hear about the death of María de Villota. Our sincerest condolences and sympathy to her family for this tragic loss."

Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull, said: "We were extremely saddened to learn of the loss of Maria de Villota.

"On behalf of everyone in the team, we send our sincere condolences to Maria’s family at this difficult time"

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Duxford crash Formula One test driver found dead

Maria De Villota Credit: James Moy Photography/Press Association Images

Former Formula One test driver Maria de Villota has died at the age of 33.

On July 3 last year, whilst testing for Marussia, De Villota was involved in a freak accident at Duxford Aerodrome in Cambridgeshire that resulted in her losing her right eye.

Despite spending a month in hospital, De Villota rebuilt her life and became part of the FIA's Women In Motorsport commission.

Spaniard De Villota was the daughter of former F1 driver Emilio, and competed in F3, GTs, touring cars and the Superleague Formula before joining up with Marussia.

It is understood De Villota was on a tour promoting her autobiography at the time of her death, with reports in Spain stating she was found in a hotel room in Seville.

A statement on De Villota's Facebook page, signed by her family, read: "Dear friends: Maria has left us.

"She had to go to heaven like all angels. We are thankful to God for the extra year and a half that he left her with us."

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