De Villota died of 'natural causes'
The world of Formula 1 and beyond has paid tribute to Spanish driver Maria De Villota, who was
found dead in a hotel room in Seville
at the age of 33.
Miguel Cardenal, Spain's secretary of state for sport:
"We are thinking about how to sustain her legacy because she brought something different to Spanish sport, different values and her vision of life."
Jean Todt, FIA president:
"Today is a tragic day for motor sport. My deepest condolences go to the De Villota family. Maria was a fantastic driver, a leading light for women in motor sport and a tireless campaigner for road safety. Above all, she was a friend I deeply admired. Through her courage, strength and determination, she transformed her personal misfortune on the track into a powerful message for road safety that was heard at race tracks and beyond around the world. Maria was a beloved member of the FIA family. Our thoughts go to her family today."
Williams development driver
“She had such a spirit for life and what she came through was a testament to her strength of character and her positive outlook”
Pedro De La Rosa, Ferrari development driver and friend:
"We were very close, all the racing community, but especially us being Spanish. She had a lot of strength, she was very happy. She had gone through a terrible year but she was now just married and she was so happy. I spoke with her two days ago and I'm very sad for her family. I learned from her a lot of things. One of them is that she was always smiling and always trying hard to be a better person and I will take that with me. She went through such a difficult scenario, losing an eye, fighting hours and hours in hospital to be again the Maria that we all knew. She managed all that and that's the incredible thing. She was genuinely extremely happy, that's why we're all so sad, because she was a super woman and we will never forget her."
Fernando Alonso, F1 driver:
"I really don't know what to say. Pray for her and her family and the whole motorsport family. She was really loved by everyone."
, Spanish tennis star: "It's very bad news for the world of sport in general, for Spanish sport especially. It's very difficult to say things on day like today. Stay positive. All the best for her family. Very difficult to find a word because is a very sad, sad day for all of us. I hope she didn't suffer in that last moment, that's the only positive thing I think. The rest of the things are all very, very negative."
Susie Wolff, Williams development driver:
"She had such a spirit for life and what she came through was a testament to her strength of character and her positive outlook. After the accident, she was so behind me and had such a lust for life. She was so happy to be alive and that she'd survived it. She had so many great plans for the future. She was just an incredible lady."
Jenson Button, F1 driver:
"It's horrendous news. Very tragic. The girl has been through so much - more than most people have gone through in their lives and what most will go through in their lives. It has been tough - this is horrific news. It's a real shock to the whole paddock and the world of motorsport."
Eddie Jordan, BBC Sport analyst:
"She was a wonderful figurehead. She showed the world how she was going to beat this, find a new life and come back to motor racing and she's written this great book. It is a very sombre place here [at the Japanese Grand Prix], it's a very close community here and everyone is thinking about the great sense of loss."
Maria De Villota
- Born in Madrid on 13 January 1980
- A former World Touring Car Championship and Superleague Formula driver, she was the daughter of ex-Formula 1 racer Emilio De Villota
- She held a degree in sports science from the European University of Madrid
- Since 2001, she had competed in various Spanish races
- In 2010 she finished fourth at the Nurburgring in Superleague Formula
- Her first taste of F1 came in 2011 at the Paul Ricard circuit near Marseille in France, when she tested a Renault R29
Carlos Gracia, Spanish Automobile Federation president:
"I have just found out. It is very hard to take. There is no explanation for what has happened. She was a great person and an example for everyone."
Mark Webber, Red Bull driver:
It's been a very difficult last year and a half for her after the accident. She was such a beautiful and friendly lady with such a great nature and a warm heart. We're thinking of her and as her family stated. She's up with the angels now."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari driver:
"I feel really sorry for what has happened. It's a very sad day for motorsport, for sport in general. She was somebody who was trying to do the best she could to become a Formula 1 driver. She was very close and it's difficult to accept what has happened. "
Mercedes F1 team:
"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."
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:
"She was incredibly brave after a very unusual and difficult accident; someone who desperately wanted to achieve success in motor racing regardless of her gender. That's inspirational, to anyone and certainly to girls in F1. A big loss to the sport and I'm sure a much bigger one to her family and friends and loved ones."
McLaren team principal
“She was incredibly brave after a very unusual and difficult accident; someone who desperately wanted to achieve success in motor racing regardless of her gender”
Sauber F1 team:
"We are shocked to hear about the death of Maria De Villota. Our sincerest condolences and sympathy to her family for this tragic loss."
Caterham F1 team:
"We'd like to echo the thoughts of the whole paddock and express our deepest condolences on the news of Maria de Villota's passing. RIP."
Sahara Force India team:
"Very sad news coming from Spain about brave Maria De Villota passing away. Our thoughts are with Maria's family and friends in this moment."
Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham test driver:
"So sad news emerging from Spain regarding Maria De Villota. My sincerest condolences to her family and friends."
Alexander Rossi, Caterham reserve driver:
"Absolutely stunned and heartbroken to hear Maria De Villota has passed away. My thoughts and prayers go out. We will never ever forget you."