Maria de Villota found dead in Spain
Maria de Villota has been found dead in her hotel room in Seville at the age of 33.
A message on de Villota's Facebook page read: "Dear friends: Maria has left us. She had to go to heaven and all the angels. We thank God for the year and a half more that we had together. Signed: Family Villota."
De Villota was found in her hotel room by emergency services on Friday morning, with an autopsy confirming she died of "natural causes". She was due to appear at a 'What Really Matters' conference in Seville, which has since been cancelled.
De Villota - the daughter of former Formula One driver Emilio - signed a deal to become Marussia test driver in 2010 but her racing career was ended when she suffered serious head injuries after crashing in to the back of a truck at Duxford Airfield. She lost her right eye in the crash in July 2012, but had since recovered to continue working with the FIA.
Marussia released a short statement which read: "It is with great sadness that we learned a short time ago of the news that Maria de Villota has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with Maria's family and friends at this very difficult time."
The news broke as FP2 ended in Japan, with teams and drivers taking to Twitter to pay tribute to de Villota.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Maria de Villota following the tragic news of her passing today— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) October 11, 2013
Her courage, determination and hope were an example and inspiration to many. She will be sadly missed by our sport.— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) October 11, 2013