Teenage Formula Three driver Sophia Florsch has had successful surgery with “no fear of paralysis” after a horrific aerial crash at the Macau Grand Prix, her team boss has confirmed.
Florsch, 17, suffered a spinal fracture at the street circuit on Sunday when her car catapulted off the track and into a photographers’ bunker while travelling at more than 275km/h on the tight street circuit.
“Everything is working and everything is in order,” team boss Frits Van Amersfoort told the BBC on Monday.
“We are extremely happy that she is now recovering and that everything went extremely well. There’s no fear of paralysis whatsoever.”
Florsch spent 11 hours in surgery after hurtling into marshals and photographers. She remains in intensive care but according to her father the surgery, which was “deliberately slow” to “avoid risks”, “went well”.
“Sophia is now being monitored in intensive care and spending the night there from Monday to Tuesday,” Alexander Florsch said.
Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi, two photographers and a marshal were also taken to hospital for treatment.
Tsuboi and photographer Hiroyuki Minami have already been released from hospital. The other photographer, China’s Chan Weng Wang, has to stay for treatment for about 10 days after lacerating his liver. The marshal suffered a broken jaw.
Sophia Florsch’s car flew off the track. Source: AFP
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.
A medical report sent to AFP said Florsch was admitted to the emergency room of a Macau hospital with a spinal fracture in a stable condition.
Florsch had reassured her fans on Twitter Sunday evening, before going into surgery the following day.
“Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine but will be going into surgery tomorrow morning,” she said.
“Thanks to everybody for the supporting messages.”
Jean Todt, president of the International Motoring Federation (FIA), said the ruling body would investigate the crash.
The FIA “is mobilised to help those involved and analyse what happened,” he tweeted.
“We will monitor the situation and make the necessary conclusions.”
Frits van Amersfoort, the principal of Florsch’s team Van Amersfoort Racing, told the BBC she was travelling at around 276km/h at the time of the crash.
“It was nearly a rocket. Surviving was incredible,” he told BBC Radio 5 live. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this.”
“I haven’t seen all accidents in motorsport but this was surely one of the worst I’ve ever seen.”
Sophia Florsch pre-race. Source: AFP
Nineteen-year-old Briton Dan Ticktum of Red Bull Junior Team won the race on the fabled Macau street circuit, which has been graced by F1 greats such as Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.
“I hope everybody’s OK after this crash, I wish them the best recovery,” said European champion Mick Schumacher, the son of stricken F1 legend Michael, according to the Post.
At least three people have died on the Macau Grand Prix circuit. British rider Daniel Hegarty died last year after hitting a barrier at Fishermen’s Bend during the Macau Grand Prix’s feature motorcycle race.
In 2012 Portugal’s Luis Carreira and Hong Kong’s Phillip Yau were killed within two days of each other during the Macau Grand Prix.