Marussia Formula One test driver Maria de Villota of Spain smiles during her news conference in Madrid October 11, 2012. De Villota made her first public appearance after her horrific accident during a testing session in England last July in which she lost her right eye. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT MOTORSPORT HEADSHOT)

Former Formula One test driver Maria de Villota, who lost her right eye in a crash last July, says her recuperation has gone as well as she could have expected.

De Villota suffered serious head and facial injuries after the accident when testing for the Marussia team for the first time at Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire.

The daughter of former Spanish F1 driver Emilio De Villota said: “I feel very good. The doctors told me that it helps that I have never drank alcohol or smoked and that I was a sportswoman.

“I still feel a little weak and have headaches, but I am getting on well. Very busy days take their toll, but I am calm because I know everything is going well.

“To start with it was difficult just to do day-to-day things. Catching keys in flight or getting a glass of water was a problem, but now things are much better.”

“Last week they gave me permission to return to driving.”

De Villota also revealed that she has taken her first steps towards driving again and that despite her traumatic experience, she holds no grudge towards Formula One.

She said: “The distances I can already calculate quite well and it feels like nothing ever happened.

“At the end of the day my natural habitat is in a car and I am happiest in that environment. I missed it.

“When your life is saved no one owes you anything. I don't hold any rancour towards the sport. The only thing I want is for the safety in races and tests to be improved.

“I will collaborate with them on what is currently lacking. Moreover, I feel very grateful to all the teams and drivers who have supported me after the accident.”


De Villota, 33, also confirmed she would continue to work with the International Automobile Federation to help increase the prominence of female participants in motorsport.

The last woman to enter the F1 World championship was Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify for three races at the start of the 1992 season with Brabham.

Five women have entered F1 races in the past, the most prolific being Lella Lombardi, who started 12 Grands Prix in the 1970s.

The only woman ever to win a Formula One race, albeit a non-championship Aurora Series event, was South African Desire Wilson in 1980.

In Nascar though it is a different story, with Danica Patrick making history by becoming the first woman to start from pole in Sunday's Daytona 500, going on to take eighth in the race itself. - AFP