A 17-year-old racing driver who fractured her spine in a horrifying crash at the Formula Three Macau Grand Prix has vowed to return to the sport after surviving surgery lasting nearly half a day.
German Sophia Floersch flew off the track on Sunday, hurtling into marshals and photographers, before being rushed to a Macau hospital in a stable condition.
“I survived the operation which took 11 hours. Hope from now on it only gets better,” she wrote in a Facebook post on her official account late Tuesday.
Floersch said she had to stay “a few more days” in Macau until it is possible to transport her elsewhere.
She thanked the medical staff who treated her as well as the people who helped at the scene of the crash for their “encouraging, calming words in these tough minutes in my car”.
“I’m going to come back!” she added.
Dramatic footage captured gasps from the crowd as the Van Amersfoort Racing driver’s car flew through the air and into safety netting at the Guia Circuit’s Lisboa bend, a sharp right-hander.
Running 16th, she lost control in a contact down the straight, launched off a kerb and bounced off Tsuboi’s TOM’s Racing car.
“My thoughts are also with everyone who was involved in the accident. I hope everybody is healthy,” Floersch said in her post.
The International Motoring Federation (FIA) has said it will investigate the crash.
At least three people have died on the Macau Grand Prix circuit.
British rider Daniel Hegarty died last year after hitting a barrier at Fisherman’s Bend during the Macau Grand Prix’s feature motorcycle race.
In 2012, Portuguese motorcyclist Luis Carreira and Hong Kong driver Phillip Yau were killed within two days of each other during the Macau Grand Prix.
Full statement from Sophia:
“I survived the operation which took 11 hours well. Hope from now on it only gets better. I have to stay a few more days in Macau until I’m transportable. I want to thank all of my fans for every single get-well wishes, which I now start reading. This really motivates me and gives me courage. My thoughts are also with everyone who was involved in the accident. I hope everybody is healthy. At the accident were really nice people, which I still have in my mind. Thank you for all the encouraging, calming words in these tough minutes in my car. A real big thanks to the medical staff here in Macau for the friendly and professional treatment. A huge thank you to the local @FIA rescue-team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, HWA AG, the FIA organisation and their medical team in the background and the Macau Organisation, who support me in the best way. Also a special thank to Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli and last but not least my Team Van Amersfoort Racing, Facu and Ferdinand, who all suffer with me - you are phenomenal. I’m going to come back, by the way. Dallara built a very good chassis.”