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Macau Grand Prix

Sophia Floersch wants to be first female Formula One world champion after surviving Macau Grand Prix horror crash

  • The 18-year-old is targeting return to Formula Three by early March
  • German driver has started rehab but still can’t use her back or neck
PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 December, 2018, 6:13pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 December, 2018, 10:22pm

Sophia Floersch may still be recovering from her horror crash at last month’s Macau Grand Prix but she’s dreaming of more than just getting back into a racing car.

“I’ll see how it goes, but my goal is to get to Formula One and have success there and maybe be world champion,” the 18-year-old told the BBC.

“It’s quite a big goal but I’m getting closer every year and I think it’s possible to be there, for sure, and to be a woman world champion.

“I just want to be the best driver. I think the woman part comes by itself.”

Sophia Floersch crash: inside Macau Grand Prix photographers’ bunker hit by 276kmh ‘missile’

The German’s car went airborne off the track at more than 275 kilometres per hour through the safety fencing and into a photographer’s tribune at November 18’s Formula Three race.

Floersch underwent 11 hours of surgery on a fractured spine suffered in the crash, with her Van Amersfoort Racing owner Fritz Van Amersfoort admitted there were fears for her life – let alone whether she would race again.

“Of course I hope to be back behind the wheel,” Floersch, who is targeting a return by late February or early March, added in an interview with BBC Sport.

“The plans are to do the same series again as I did this year, the F3 European Championship which is now called Euromasters – so that’s going to be my plan.

“Hopefully it will be with Van Amersfoort, the team that I raced with this year, because they are an amazing team.”

Sophia Floersch: how safety measures – and dumb luck – helped teenage driver survive Macau Grand Prix horror crash

Floersch admitted it was a “miracle” she survived, but that the pain is “getting less day by day” as she continues her recovery.

“I’m feeling good. It all happened like four weeks ago and I can nearly do everything,” she said.

“The last two weeks have been quite OK; I started with my rehab two weeks ago so you don’t lose any more muscles at the beginning, and so my body keeps working again.

“For me now, it’s just about finding the basics, to build up my strength and arms and legs, but I can do everything apart from using my back and my neck.”

Macau Grand Prix: Sophia Floersch crash sees teenager fracture spine as car flies off track through fence

Floersch had two broken bones in her spinal column, the T3, which is still broken, and C7, which was broken in three parts.

“That was actually the dangerous one [the C7], because one part of this bone went right into the thing where the nerves go and that was the reason why I had to have surgery the next day,” she said.

“I need to start everything slowly and build it up from there, so I’m building my training up, adding more weights each day.

“It depends, of course, how the bone knits together again, but that’s the plan and I will try to be fit then again.”

The world of motorsport united to wish Floersch a quick recovery after shocking videos of her crash went viral on social media.

“The video got quite big and a lot of people saw it,” she said. “A lot of people texted me, especially F1 drivers like [Fernando] Alonso, [Nico] Rosberg and [Nico] Hulkenberg, but also F1 teams.

“It’s just unbelievable to see how close not just family stays and to have all those fans all over the world supporting you.”

Floersch was catapulted off the track at the Guia Circuit’s Lisboa Bend after a collision with Jehan Daruvala sent her into the crash barriers further down the straight.

“[It was when] I didn’t have the control any more because I lost my two side wheels because of the other driver, then you’re just like ‘OK, this is going to be a crash’ but I never thought ‘this is going to be a really bad crash’,” she said.

“Even when I was in the hospital, for me, the crash wasn’t so horrible. When I saw the video for the first time, I was like ‘OK, this actually looks quite bad’.

“I watched it for the first time on the Friday after the crash, and of course I was also shocked because it doesn’t look nice at all. It’s really horrible.

“I didn’t expect it to look that bad because, in the car, it didn’t feel so horrible.”

Floersch’s Dallara-Mercedes car was sent up into the air after mounting the blue inside “sausage” kerb, hitting Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi’s roll hoop on the way to the photographer’s tribune.

Tsuboi and two photographers were taken to hospital too – one who had been inside the tribune and another near the marshal’s area below, where Floersch’s car landed back down on top of the ARMCO barrier. A marshal was also sent to the emergency room.

“The flying [through the air] part, I remember, but it felt different,” she said. “For me, it felt like sliding on the ground. I don’t know if it’s because it happened so fast, but it just felt the same.

“Of course, it was a little bit strange that I was landing on top of the barriers, but I didn’t get it together, so I also didn’t really think about what happened.”