Maria De Villota, a Formula 1 reserve-racing driver has been found dead in a hotel room in Seville, Spain.
According to reports, she was in Seville to launch her autobiography. She died of natural causes, as confirmed by Dr Joaquin Lucena Romero, head of forensic services at the Institute for Legal Medicine. The 33-year-old Spaniard, previously lost her right eye in a crash while testing for the Marussia team last year.
De Villota, daughter of former Formula 1 driver Emilio De Villota, also suffered severe head and facial injuries after colliding with a lorry in an accident earlier, at Duxford Aerodrome, Cambridgeshire, UK, but had received the go ahead to resume driving.
Caterham reserve Alexander Rossi said: “Absolutely stunned and heartbroken to hear Maria De Villota has passed away. My thoughts and prayers go out. We will never ever forget you.”
Mercedes added: “Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Maria de Villota following the tragic news of her passing. “Her courage, determination and hope were an example and inspiration to many. She will be sadly missed by our sport.”
De Villota had previously starred in Spanish Formula 3 and the Daytona 24 Hours race. Other F1 teams and drivers have also expressed their shock at the news.