Back for another season in FIA Formula 3 in 2023, Sophia Floersch has been revelling in the challenge of the car and competitors all season so far.
Get to know the Alpine-backed PHM Racing by Charouz driver a little more with some critical questions about her racing past and present.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST RACING MEMORY?
“My first racing memory is probably back home close to Munich at the karting track where I started when I was four. I got into the sport because of my dad, and he was doing karting a little bit and I’d gone with him a few times and I also tried it at some point tried it. I enjoyed driving for a couple of years when I did my first race when I was seven.
“It was a hobby for me at first. When people played tennis on the weekends or went swimming, I went karting. At that point, you don’t think about F1 or anything. You’re there because you’re enjoying it. It was really nice at that point, I did my first race at seven and then began to travel for competition. You get this fighting spirit a little bit more, you care about how quick or slow you are, and in the end you don’t understand times but want the trophies, so you start working more.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RACING STYLE?
“I think I can be quite aggressive. Many people always say that a woman can’t be that aggressive, but I think always since karting, I’ve had to fight so it’s the opposite. I’ve learned from a pretty young age to fight in the race, try and be clever and keep on working, even if it’s not going as you like in the end.”
WHO IS YOUR RACING HERO?
“That’s actually quite a difficult one because there’s been so many really good and competitive drivers and characters from the past that I admire and look up to. For sure, Niki Lauda, but obviously from a German driver’s perspective, Michael Schumacher. It was those kinds of people who were racing before I was even born, even if it’s always difficult to learn or use them as a proper role model, but they’re legends of our sport. I would actually also say Lewis Hamilton, because I love his racing style and love that he’s also doing other projects and still always performs. When he was winning world championships, he was always beating his teammates apart from Nico Rosberg that one year, so I think he’s one of the best drivers around right now.”
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST RACING ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
“It's always difficult to say because there's so many different kinds of racing series which are equally special. Obviously that I did Macau twice was a really nice opportunity. I mean, it's kind of the World Cup of F3. The top 10 result we got in LMP2 in my first year of doing 24 Hours of Le Mans when I was 19 was super important and a big thing for me. I’ve done it twice more and I think it's more of a small thing which maybe might not be like a win but I think in their own in their own way, they're still a pretty big achievement. And then obviously now that I'm now part of the Alpine Academy I think is probably the biggest and most important step in my career. To have support from a manufacturer and F1 team is a really big milestone.
“Being with the team this year has been really helpful. It's the first time actually being with a manufacturer or Formula 1 team and the amount I already got to learn through them is amazing, and I think they've just helped me become a better racing driver on an off track. I think for me personally, it's just the way the training and engineers helped me be a better racing driver, help me on what to focus on and so on. I'm super happy that there's actually a manufacturer that really has the goal to support women in motorsport and I love that they also have a way to do it. I think that's different to many others, so I'm really pleased.”
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A RACING DRIVER?
“The best thing is probably that you get to work with so many great people. I think working with different kinds of people from different kinds of countries, different areas make you a better person in general and helps make you a better person. “Obviously just driving quicker cars the higher you get, it’s insane. People cannot imagine how quick these cars are nowadays. That's the biggest blessing.”
HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM RACING?
“Just being at home. I'm actually doing quite a lot of sponsor and media stuff alongside being at the racetrack so when I'm actually home, I just like to chill on the lake or be with friends and just calm down. Even going to the gym sometimes can be relaxing. So if you have a normal daily routine at home, I think that's already nice to calm down and get back to, let's say, a clear head.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY SECRET TALENTS?
“I was actually really good at math in school. I don't know why, but I wouldn’t really say that’s a talent but that’s the only thing I can think of.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TRACK ON THE FORMULA 3 CALENDAR?
“One of my favourite tracks was always Red Bull Ring because it's close to Munich. The track is insane, all the surroundings are really beautiful. But after doing Monaco. I would actually rate Monaco and Red Bull Ring on the same level. Monaco is so legendary, and it was my first time there and the track itself, it's a street circuit that’s been on the racing calendar for so many years, everything just works differently in terms of the routine compared to a normal race weekend in Monaco, so I think those two.”