We sat down with Sophia Floersch to discuss the moments that made her. The German driver discusses her first victories in go-karting and single-seaters, stepping up to European Formula 3 for the first time, and her inspirational return to Macau in 2019.
1. THE FIRST VICTORIES IN KARTING AND SINGLE-SEATERS
“I will start with my first ever karting win, although I don't really remember much of it because I was just a kid, like eight or nine-years-old. When you are young you are just having fun and it is a bit of a hobby, but once you have won that changes things a bit. I think every single win grows your confidence and the older you get, the more difficult it gets, because the competition increases more and more.
“The first time I set into a kart was actually quite horrible - I got inside without a helmet on and they started the engine and wow, it was loud! I actually started crying, so not the best of starts…
“A few weeks later I drove for the first time and it was really fun. The more laps I did, the more I enjoyed it and the quicker I got. I am really happy that my parents stood by me and made me continue because I would not be here otherwise. I don't actually remember where I won for the first time, although I often try to remember. I do still have the trophies at home from back in 2007- that is such a long time ago.
“On that same note, I would also include my first win in cars for the same reason. I stepped up to cars in the Ginetta junior Championship and I had a double win in Thruxton in the UK. It was my first year in cars and it was completely new for me, I won, and it was really big moment for me. I think that every single weekend where you perform well is a step forward in your career.”
2. STEPPING UP TO EUROPEAN FORMULA 3
“The next one would be when I finished school and did my first proper year in F3, which was the old European F3 Championship. I had done no testing in the car, but jumped straight into a race weekend three rounds in. That was a step forward for me because it was one of the best junior classes at the time. I had no preparation, but I still did it.”
3. RETURNING TO MACAU
"I would have to include my comeback as well. Not just my return to racing, but actually going back to Macau in 2019. To return just one year after the accident helped me to kind of close that book.
“I think that the crash changed me as a person. I was only 17 at the time, so I wasn’t even officially ‘grown up.’ Crashing like that is never nice and it does make you think about things that you would never normally think about, certainly not at the age, but I think that I am trying to live life more now and be happier as a result.
“I am thankful to be able to race and when I jumped back in the car again, which was at Monza, the feeling that I got, I had never had before. I was just so happy to still be able to do what I loved and to not have any impacts on my body. I think the whole recovery and comeback has made me a stronger person.
“As a result of that I won the Laureus Award for 'World Comeback of the Year.’ For any athlete in any sport, it is a big deal to be nominated for a Laureus award, so to win it, that is amazing. When I got the email to tell me that I had been nominated, I just thought ‘wow, this cannot be true.’ I certainly did not expect to win because I had such strong competition in my category.
“For me, this was proof that people outside of motorsport were proud of what I did and how I came back. It meant that they enjoyed seeing how much I love this sport and how much passion I have for racing. It felt really good.
“This moment proved to me that it is worth fighting and never giving up. You will always have rough times, but it is worth doing.”