German driver Sophia Floersch is conscious but has been transferred to hospital with a fractured spine after a horror crash at the Macau Grand Prix. The 17-year-old’s Dallara-Mercedes flew off the track into the air, over the crash barriers and through the safety fencing at the Guia Circuit’s Lisboa bend on the fourth lap of Sunday’s Formula Three World Cup.
The Van Amersfoort Racing driver had lost control of her wheels further down the straight in a different crash before striking the TOM’s car of Sho Tsuboi. Floersch’s car crashed into a photographer’s stand near a marshal’s post before landing back down on the barrier.
Japanese driver Tsuboi was also taken to the emergency room at Conde S. Januario General Hospital along with two photographers and one marshal.
“Five individuals were involved in the accident at Lisboa Bend,” a statement from the Macau Grand Prix Organising Committee said. “All were conscious during transit to the hospital and are now receiving medical treatment. Further updates will be provided as soon as possible.”
The organising committee’s chief medical officer Chan Wai-sin later said Floersch had symptoms of back pain. A medical report diagnosed her with a “spinal fracture” but said her vital signs were stable. Tsuboi was diagnosed with lumbar pain.
Floersch later wrote in a tweet that she would be going into surgery on Monday morning. “Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine,” she said. “Thanks to everybody for the supporting messages. Update soon.” The medical reports said the marshal, Chan Cha-in, had a laceration of the face, an abrasion of the upper abdomen wall and a right maxillary bone fracture, but no neurological deficiency.
Japanese photographer Minami Hiroyuki had a concussion, the medical reports said, while local photographer Chan Weng-wang had upper abdomen pain caused by a liver laceration. The red flag came after the safety car had already been deployed once for an earlier crash, which eventually restarted around an hour later at 4.53pm, with Dan Ticktum going on to win ahead of Motopark teammate Joel Eriksson and Sacha Fenestraz.
Ambulance sirens had been heard after the crash, as Floersch’s wrecked car laying stationary near the marshal post. “I hope everybody’s OK after this crash, I wish them the best recovery,” European champion Mick Schumacher said in the pit lane, as the drivers waited for the fencing to be repaired so the race could restart. “I haven’t seen the incident yet.”
Before the race restarted, Motopark driver Ferdinand Habsburg told a television interviewer in the pit lane that he heard Floersch was “fine”.
“They are so safe nowadays, you can be pretty damn sure you’re gonna walk away [from a crash],” Habsburg said. “We’ve just had a pretty big crash with Sophia. I hope she’s really doing well but I’ve heard that she’s fine, which is great.”
Floersch has previously raced in the ADAC Formula 4 Championship, where she became the first female driver to score points, and the Italian F4 Championship. She also broke records by becoming the youngest driver to win a Ginetta Junior Championship race.
A statement from the FIA read: “Following evaluation by medical staff, the driver is conscious and has subsequently been taken to hospital for further evaluation.” For Red Bull junior Ticktum, 19, it was back-to-back victories in Macau, having dominated the weekend with by taking pole in all three qualifying sessions.
“To do one or two safety car restarts puts enough pressure on a driver as it is, especially here,” Ticktum told a press conference after the race. “If you don’t nail it you are gonna get overtaken, and once you get overtaken it’s very difficult to get past again.
“The whole weekend I’ve just focused on every little drill, ticking every box. I can’t remember a weekend where I’ve performed so well.
“Not only just me, but all the people around me. The support I’ve had from my girlfriend and my parents is incredible, thank you.”
Ticktum confirmed the Macau Grand Prix will be his last Formula Three race as he looks to earn a Formula One test next year. “It’s very likely I’m gonna go race in Japan next year,” he said. “It’s not all confirmed, but it’s looking almost 100 per cent.
“As far as Formula Two goes, we’re seeing if there’s any possibilities. We’re gonna try and find a reasonable deal, if so I’ll try and participate in F2 as well but this is unlikely.
“All the talk about me getting in an F1 car, I think that if I keep performing well then I’ll have a chance of a test. If I start to show them I’m not an all-rounded driver, or that I’m not that most professional driver, I won’t get this opportunity.”