Sophia Flörsch: "It is important to have role models" - sport in the region
After an accident, the Formula 3 driver Sophia Flörsch sits back in the touring car. A conversation about passion and their position in a male world.
SZ: Ms Flörsch, you are moving again as if nothing had happened - you had a terrible accident at the Formula 3 race in Macau in November and had to undergo surgery for 13 hours on your broken cervical and thoracic vertebrae. What was it like to return to the car during test drives in March?
Sophia Flörsch: It felt like coming home. I was super happy. And I think I've proved to many that I'm really over the accident - physically and mentally. The fact that I talked openly and often about Macau from the beginning has helped to process everything and made it comprehensible to others what happened. I hope to get another chance to drive in Macau this year. That would be my dream ...
... to return to the place where you took off at 270 kilometers per hour and flew into a podium ...
Yes. I sometimes watch a Macau Youtube video because it reminds me how great the mood was. It was a great atmosphere - it was so much fun this week.
As part of the German Touring Car Masters (DTM), they wanted to start in the Formula 3 series Formula European Masters in 2018. The was canceled at short notice for lack of drivers.
Nobody expected that. It all happened very fast and we had to decide how to proceed. I wanted to stay with my team Van Amersfoort Racing and so we decided to go for the Italian Formula 3. We had no idea how the car works, which made it very difficult. The first race in France I was the only starter for Van Amersfoort drove in a test car, while other teams with several drivers for months had raced hundreds of kilometers - we can not catch up.
What kind of motorsport year is this for you?
We have improved and are much closer to the competition. My engineer always says "best of the rest". It will be interesting to see how the season develops by the end of the year. But of course it is unfortunate that it is again a year that I give away as a racing driver in principle. In 2018 I had examinations and got into Formula 3 late - and I am very happy to have graduated from school. And then in 2019 the abrupt change of plan. But anyone who knows about motor racing and follows what I'm doing knows how to classify those two years.
Not only do they stand out as one of the few women in motorsport, but as a racing driver - racing is not one of the classic mass sports.
I did not say at the age of five, I really want to go karting. When I was three, I started skiing. It was so much fun that I drove the first competitions at some point. Then came the question of a balancing sport for the summer and in the ski resort many thought that motocross was good. Because of balance, speed and orientation. So I drove motocross at the airport in Munich until I had two accidents and switched to four wheels. At that time Formula 3 was still so far away for me - and now I drive myself.
What makes getting started so hard?
Many lack the reference. This is not to be practiced as popular sports, because the effort is so enormous. Not only do you have to invest a lot of time and pay a coach or club fee as in tennis. The more you want, the more expensive it gets - it's about a zero more at the end. So it's also a question of money. And educational matter. Certainly no more guys from wealthy families come, but very few girls have the financial background for optimal racing education, but have to look for sponsors, and that's very difficult. So I think it's more about changing the proportion of women in the sport right now.
How was that in the beginning for you?
I do this sport as a woman in a male world. As a child, some people told me that I can not do it anyway because there has never been a successful woman in motorsport. That hurt me then. I find it important, as Felix Neureuther has said: to have role models. For example, if you do not have a woman as a role model as a girl, it's hard. That's why more female role models are needed in motorsport as well, I think, then more girls and women are also interested in this sport. In the kart, the proportion of women has already increased, even if it is still minimally small.
What role do events such as the SZ Talentiade play in this?
I think it's very important, too, that there are winners from around Munich, that is, from where you are at home. All award winners were able to see how passionately they pursue their sport. These may be the beginnings of international careers. Everyone starts somewhere - and to see that previous winners have made it motivates in addition.