01 Dec 20
19 May 20
When FIA Formula 3 driver Sophia Floersch was lifted from the wreckage after an accident in the Macau Grand Prix in 2018, the odds of her returning to racing looked slim. Less than two years later, Floersch speaks about the mental implications of the incident and how she overcame adversity to return to the race track.
"When I had the crash, of course, I was in hospital right afterwards with a lot of doctors and nurses around me," says Floersch, speaking to fellow racer Charlie Martin. "But for me, it was always clear to go back in the car and to keep on racing."
In November 2018, Floersch was taking part in the 2018 Macau Grand Prix when on Lap 4, she made contact with Jehan Daruvala, catapulting her and her car into Lisboa Bend at high speed. The following 24 hours saw Floersch undergo life-changing surgery, which saved her from paralysis.
"[In hospital] I didn't understand that the injury I had was that bad...so I was like, 'of course I'm going to go back, there's no question.' said the German driver, recalling the moments after the surgery. From there, aged just 17 at the time, she embarked on a journey to recovery, overcoming both mental and physical barriers.
"I think, at that time, I realised how much I actually love the sport - just because I wasn't able to do it...I think it was one of the longest times I haven't been driving a race car - I missed it so much."
After making a remarkable return to the race track at Monza in March 2019, Floersch defied the odds and returned to the scene of the accident and competed in the 2019 Macau Grand Prix with HWA Team.
"When I stepped back in the car and drove the first laps of Monza, I was just super happy - I actually had goosebumps on my whole body because I was so happy to be back and thankful to all the doctors and the supporters I had during that time.
"When I came back to Macau last year, that was something different - that was my real comeback.
"There was a lot of media about it - they made it such a big story. For me, it wasn't that much of an issue but because of talking and getting asked about it so much, the first time I went into that corner, it was strange.
"I remember everything from that crash. Of course, you have a strange feeling but then it was gone after some laps."
With the help of her family and supporters, Floersch was able to return full-time to racing. Floersch has since taken part in two rounds of the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF.
"You really have to be clear in your head when you do such a comeback to a place where you had an incident.
"That weekend, it was really important for me to have my family there - they supported me.
"I was just so happy to be able to do it again - it's one of the best tracks in the world," she adds.