Ferrari driver Felipe Massa offers support to Maria De Villota after Marussia test driver loses eye

 

Felipe Massa has drawn on his own accident hell in offering his support to Maria De Villota.

Marussia confirmed yesterday test driver De Villota had lost her right eye and was now in a "critical but stable" condition at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge following Tuesday's crash at Duxford Airfield.

De Villota required around 12 hours of surgery after the incident in which her car went into the tailgate of a support truck.

Massa can have sympathy with De Villota's plight as it was three years ago he was involved in his own accident which almost cost him his life.

In the Brazilian's case, a freak scenario saw a spring work loose from the car of compatriot Rubens Barrichello and strike him on the helmet in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Massa was knocked unconscious, resulting in him ploughing nose first into a barrier in his Ferrari.

Massa then underwent surgery around his left eye and required the insertion of a titanium plate to strengthen his skull.

Whilst Massa made a full recovery, 32-year-old Spaniard De Villota will never race again competitively given the loss of her eye.

But via his Twitter account and referring to his own experiences, Massa said: "My thoughts are for Maria and her family.

"I pray God to help her at this time. Don't give up Maria and think positive! As I did after my incident!!!!!"

Team-mate Fernando Alonso was one of the first drivers on Tuesday to offer his sympathy, and the double world champion did so again yesterday.

Alonso tweeted: "More support than ever to my colleague Maria De Villota. Want to give you all the energy in the world. We are close to you!"

Even tennis' world number two Rafael Nadal joined in the chorus of support as he said: "Maria I hope you recover soon, you must be strong and we hope to see you back as soon as possible."

The tweets were indicative of the sentiment being offered De Villota, her family and the team as a whole.

Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen attempted to look on the positive as the Finn said: "The main thing is she is alive.

"It was a freak accident, a terrible accident, but it could have been worse. It is difficult now, but we have to try to look for the positives.

"I am sure she will pull through and hopefully she gets the support, as I am sure she will, from the Formula One family.

"The Formula One world is quite sensitive and sensible in these incidents. Everybody is racing hard, but nobody wishes anything like that on people.

"I am sure she will be looked after and her family will be looked after.

"I am sure they have the best possible care, best possible tools for recovery and everyone is wishing her the best."

De Villota, who joined Marussia as a test driver in March, was taking part in her first test for the team, a straightline aero at the old Second World War site.

De Villota had just completed her initial installation run when the accident occurred, which has naturally resulted in the launch of an internal investigation as to the cause.

Team principal John Booth added: "We have embarked on a very comprehensive analysis of what happened and this work continues for the moment."

For now, the over-riding concern within the team ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix will centre on De Villota.

Booth said: "Maria's care and the wellbeing of her family remain our priority at this time."

PA

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