María de Villota's last message

A book written by the former racing driver, who died last week at the age of 33, is now on sale

María de Villota, pictured in Santander last summer.
María de Villota, pictured in Santander last summer.Pablo Hojas

A book written by former racing driver María de Villota went on sale this week just three days after she was found dead in a hotel room in Seville last Friday. In the book, called La vida es un regalo (or, Life is a gift), the one-time Formula 1 test driver gives her account of the accident that cost her her right eye back in 2012, and her efforts to overcome the physical and mental damage she suffered. An autopsy has already confirmed that the 33-year-old's death was as a result of the injuries she sustained last year.

The book, which has been published in Spanish by Plataforma Editorial, was due to be presented on Monday by De Villota. "I want to write this book because I have an important message for you all," the introduction reads. "And also because, selfishly, I do not want to ever forget the moments that this accident has given me."

The book provides a heartbreaking account of the day that the driver found out that she had lost her eye. "The doctor said to me, 'The accident was very serious, we didn't know whether we could save your life. María, we have not been able to save your eye.' At that moment I realized that I couldn't open my right eye, there was no movement at all - not even my eyelid."

The cover of the book.
The cover of the book.

The freak accident had taken place at an airfield in the United Kingdom, when she slammed into the open tailgate of a truck. After her recovery had begun and she was able to return to Spain, she had to get back into the routine of normal life. "England had been the universe of my accident, so it was as if the situation was normal there, like a long interval in my life. But when I got to Madrid, where my life and my dreams were [...] I had to start to accept the consequences." And, as she admits, "it did not go so well."

The former driver was scared of remembering exactly what had happened. "I was afraid that someone would ask me about the day of the accident," she wrote, speaking about her feelings the day before a press conference. "I was thinking about what to say. And how to act. I spent the whole night tossing and turning." For María de Villota, the first anniversary of her accident, in July of this year, was like the first birthday of a new life. But it was to be her last such celebration. She died in the early hours of the morning in that hotel room in Seville, where she had come to talk about her experiences at a conference. And to explain, no doubt, that life is a gift.

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