Just under 18 months ago, Sophia Floersch's life would be changed forever after falling victim to a horrific crash at the 2018 Macau Grand Prix.
Competing in Formula 3, Floerch's racecar careened off the track at 276km/h and into a photographers' bunker. Not only were two officials injured and rushed to the hospital, but Floersch suffered serious, life-altering spinal injuries.
She was rushed to a hospital almost immediately, and, fortunately, the 11-hour operation was a success.
A year later, Floersch returned to race in the Formula Regional European Championship. Not only that, but she also competed in the very race that nearly ended her racing career.
It would not be all for the 19-year-old, because at the recently concluded Laureus Sports Awards she won the ‘World Comeback of the Year’ award.
WARNING: The following footage may be distressing:
Looking at Floersch objectively, an accident like that would have had most people reevaluating their lives and considering their next move. Even if it meant doing something outside of motorsport. But this young woman only ever had one objective in mind and that is to one day compete in Formula 1.
Her grit is commendable, because even with the life-changing accident in the back of her mind, she overcame the mental barriers to strap on her racing boots once again.
Floersch’s return to racing was rewarded two-fold. On the one hand, she finished the 2019 Formula Regional European Championship in seventh place overall. And on the other, Laureus recognized her bravery with the ‘World Comeback of the Year’ award. That in itself is a big deal, because she bested fellow nominees Andy Murray, Christian Lealifano, Kawhi Leonard, the Liverpool soccer team, and Nathan Adrian.
Sophia Flörsch with her trophy at the 2020 Laureus Sport Awards ceremony. Image: Getty Images
Though Floersch competed in F3 in 2018, the series underwent changes following the merger of GP3 and European F3 in 2019. For 2020, she will return to the revised F3 championship and will be racing for Campos Racing alongside Alex Peroni and Alessio Deledda.
Speaking to the official F1 website, Floersch said: "I am very happy to be competing in the FIA F3 Championship together with Campos Racing. It is going to be my first season in the actual Formula 3 car with Pirelli tires, DRS and the Mecachrome engine.
"Without any test days I have to learn a lot, but I am looking forward to competing against the best drivers. For me, it’s important to get better each race weekend, work together with the team and have fun. It’s going to be a great year. The experience of Adrian Campos and his team will for sure help me."
Floersch’s ultimate goal is to compete in F1, and she’ll be making the best of her chances en route to that. Counting in her favour is the determination she’s shown to make a success of her racing career and overcoming the threatening challenges to both her personal life and career.
Clearly the traits of a true racing driver.