October 11th, 2013 (F1Plus / Rosie Baillie) - Ex-Formula One test driver Maria de Villota has been found dead in a hotel in Seville, Spain.
The news was confirmed by her family and a Police spokeswoman who said:
“The body of this person has been found in a hotel in Seville, there are nosigns of violence but we need to wait for the autopsy.”
A statement from her family has been released, which reads:
"Dear friends: Maria has left us. She had to go to heaven like all the angels. We thank God for the extra year and a half he left her with us."
It’s reported that de Villota, 33, was in Seville lauching her autobiography "Life is a Gift".
FIA President Jean Todt released a statement paying tribute to the the Spaniard and sent his condolences to her family.
“Today is a tragic day for motor sport. 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.” The Frenchman said.
“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.”
Last July the Spaniard suffered serious injuries and lost her right eye following a collision with a lorry while carrying out straight-line tests for Marussia at Duxford Aerodrome.
De Villota recovered from her injuries and went on to become an ambassador for safety in motorsport.