Maria De Villota, the 33-year-old, Spanish Formula One driver and current reserve driver for Marussia F1, was found dead in her Seville, Spain hotel room early this morning. Police believe that it was a natural death, although local forensics and homicide units were on the scene to rule out all possibilities, according to a report from BBC Sport.

De Villota was the daughter of former F1 driver Emilio De Villota, and has been involved in a number of both open- and closed-wheel racing series, ranging from the Grand-Am Series to F1 feeder championships in Europe. She made headlines in July of 2012 when she was involved in an accident with a parked truck while testing Marussia's F1 challenger. The near-fatal accident nearly ended De Villota's career, as doctors were forced to remove her right eye.

De Villota's family said in a statement, "Dear friends: Maria is gone. She had to go to heaven with all of the angels." Tributes to De Villota have been paid from a number of figures in F1, including countryman Fernando Alonso, who issued a statement saying, "Today is a very sad day for Spanish sport. We have lost a fighter with a huge smile."

Plans are already in the works to honor De Villota at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, with McLaren principal and president of the Formula One Teams' Association, Martin Whitmarsh, telling the BBC, "We will be talking amongst ourselves." Whitmarsh added, "Everyone wants to demonstrate the right level of sympathy but the real racers would want the show to go on and wouldn't want a fuss to be made. It's not something we need to amplify, it's something we've got to be sensitive about."


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  • 37 Comments
      mark_m
      • 1 Year Ago
      Who cares what she looks like, sad story. More of a "car guy" than most of us will ever be. RIP
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Too young to die. May she rest in peace.
      Bavarian818
      • 1 Year Ago
      I never knew Maria until now, however I am now a lifelong fan!!!
      Zeus
      • 1 Year Ago
      Shaking my head on this one. What an unthinkable loss. I was heart broken when I read about her last accident and was really pulling for her. She lived life and there are no real words for what anyone with a heart should be feeling right now. RIP Maria De Villota who was unfortunately taken from us at such a young age before the world was shown her talent, beauty and spirit. She will forever remain in the hearts and minds of her fans across the world. The next time I race anything I will say a prayer in the silence of my helmet for her. My next ride is for you Maria, I can only hope that you are willing to ride with me. Rest in peace, with all the love in my heart.
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      Guys, too soon...
      Garry Carlson
      • 1 Year Ago
      Isn't it odd how associates of sports figures always know what the deceased would have wanted? I mean really, isn't it becoming cliche? I realize there is a lot of money spent on promotions of events, but, to just come out and say what the person would have wanted? Who's going to argue? If you ask me, what this person would have wanted, was to keep the pole position empty, as a tribute to her! Now, who's going to deny that? That way the race will still go on, people will still have their fun, there just won't be anybody in the coveted Pole Position at the start of the race. There, now we have gone past the untimely death, cleared the conscience, and, on with the show! After all, "The Show", must go on! RIP
      AcidTonic
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow what a shame.... perhaps complications with removing the eye? Some kind of infection gone unnoticed? Wow.
        Carlos
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        It wasn't just the eye... the computer image of her skull after the crash is pretty horrific: http://news.sky.com/story/1153054/maria-de-villota-f1-driver-found-dead-in-hotel
          Giorgio
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Carlos
          Oh my, the amount of damage she suffered to her skull is incredible. She's been lucky to recover to live a bit more. Too bad she's gone. Let's just hope there's a better place for all of us when we pass away, and she just went there.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        [blocked]
      PoMoMangler
      • 1 Year Ago
      I admit that I didn't know about Maria until her accident, but I thought it was really great that there was a woman doing F1 driving, and she remained inspirational after her accident. Regardless of the cause of death it's a real loss to the sport. Hopefully she will inspire other women to push to get involved in F1 and other motorsports.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        StephenT
        • 1 Year Ago
        When did she drive in Grand Am?
          • 1 Year Ago
          @StephenT
          [blocked]
          Tom Winch
          • 1 Year Ago
          @StephenT
          I'm not sure how much Grand-Am racing she did, but she drove a Ferrari 360 Modena in the 2005 24 Hours of Daytona.
      ishmaelcrowley
      • 1 Year Ago
      Very sad. Best wishes her family and friends. She wil be missed.
      tornado542
      • 1 Year Ago
      Probably drug/alchohol overdose...
        Mudotaku
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tornado542
        Actually it is quite common for people who have a suffer serious accidents to have serious brain trauma and to die suddenly later in their life.
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Very sad. She gained another year and a half, thanks to great medical, which was a blessing to her family, and many others.
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