Boss Booth denies Marussia negligent in de Villota crash

Sat, 7 July 2012, 09:35

Jul.7 (GMM) Maria de Villota’s condition has been downgraded from ‘critical’ to ‘serious’ as she recovers from her horror testing crash in an English hospital.

Marussia’s 32-year-old test driver is currently in an induced coma following another round of surgery on Friday.

“Whilst Maria remains acutely ill … she has been responding well to the treatment she has received since her accident,” the team said in a statement.

Team boss John Booth told Bild newspaper: “The swelling in her head is not getting worse.

“This is some good news, but it will take a lot of time before she is completely well again. At the moment it’s day to day, hour to hour.”

Briton Booth said de Villota, who lost her right eye due to the severe head and face injuries, is aware of what has happened.

“Yes, she has spent most of the time conscious,” he told the German newspaper. “But after the long surgery, the doctors decided it would be best for her recovery if she is in an artificial coma.”

He denied Marussia acted negligently by putting an inexperienced driver, who does not have an FIA super license, at the wheel of the team’s 2012 car for an aerodynamic straight line test.

“No, we did not. This is the normal method for a team to train its new development drivers and give them some experience.

“And it was not the first time Maria has driven a modern formula one car.”

Booth would not talk about the likely cause of the crash.

“I cannot. Not yet,” he insisted.

“Unlike in some other countries there are very strict procedures in England. What happened must not only be examined by the team but also by the authorities.”

Booth said he can therefore “not talk about” issues such as why the truck loading ramp was sticking up at visor height.

Asked if the incident could have “serious consequences” for the Marussia team, he answered: “All I can say is that safety is taken very seriously in England.”

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