unday’s Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix was marred by a horrific crash in which a 17-year-old female driver from Germany flew off the track at high speed and was lucky to survive with only a fractured spine.
As seen in a video filmed by a spectator, just ahead of a sharp right-hand turn, Sophia Floersch’s vehicle shot like a rocket over the track’s barrier, smashing through a protective fence and coming down on top of a photographer’s bunker.
The cause of the crash has yet to be officially investigated, but it is believed to have happened after Floersch bumped into the back of a car driven by Indian racer Jehan Daruvala when he slowed down for yellow warning flags. The collision caused Floersch to spin out, slamming into the wall and hitting the curb, which launched her into the air. At the time, she was likely going 270 kph (170 mph).
In the air, Floersch’s wheels struck the roof of a car driven by Japanese racer Sho Tsuboi, sending him into the wall as well.
Tyre marks left on Sho Tsuboi’s car from the impact with Sophia Flörsch.
— Super GT World (@supergtworld) November 18, 2018
The crash also injured two photographers and a marshall inside the roadside bunker. All five victims were immediately taken to the hospital where Floersch was found to have fractured her spine.
The teen soon sent out an update on Twitter to say that she was doing fine.
Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine but will be going into Surgery tomorow morning. Thanks to the @fia and @hwaag_official @MercedesAMGF1 who are taking great care of me.
Thanks to everybody for the Supporting messages.
— Sophia Floersch (@SophiaFloersch) November 18, 2018
Obviously, this crash could have been much, much worse. Writing for Motorsport.com, Jonathan Noble credits race organizers for this, arguing that their decisions to raise curbs and catch fencing in recent years had helped to save lives.
Noble notes that had the curbs not been raised, then Floersch’s car would have likely hit Sho Tsuboi straight in the cockpit. Meanwhile, while the fencing may have broken, it did manage to slow down Floersch’s momentum once she had left the track.
Though, in the end, luck probably played the biggest part in her survival.