Formula 3 driver Sophia Florsch has revealed only a “miracle” helped her survive her horror crash at 175mph at the Macau Grand Prix last month.
The then 17-year-old fractured her spine after she lost control of her car and it flew through the air and smashed into a fence and a photographers’ bunker in November.
She was airlifted to hospital and underwent a 17-hour surgery to repair two broken bones in her spinal column, one of which is still broken and the other was broken in three places.
However, she is in rehab now and is targeting a return to racing with the ultimate goal of becoming a F1 world champion.
“Of course I hope to be back behind the wheel,” she told the BBC. “The plans are to do the same series again as I did this year, the F3 European Championship.
“I’ll see how it goes, but my goal is to get to F1 and have success there and maybe be world champion. It’s quite a big goal but I’m getting closer every year and I think it’s possible to be there, for sure, and to be a woman world champion.
“I just want to be the best driver. I think the woman part comes by itself.”
Florsch also revealed she received text messages from a plethora of F1 stars, including Fernando Alonso and compatriots Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg as she was recovering in hospital.
The teenager celebrated her 18th birthday just two weeks after the crash and spoke of how despite she losing control, she did not expect the crash to be as bad as it was.
“It probably is a miracle, but that’s probably also the reason why I am happy and why I am normal. It happened quite fast – the top speed was 275kmph – but I can do nearly everything again so, for me, it’s just to be happy and to continue to be positive.
“I remember everything from the crash. It felt just completely different for me because it just happened so fast.
“[It was when] I didn’t have the control anymore because I lost my two side wheels because of the other driver, then you’re just like ‘OK, this is going to be a crash’ but I never thought ‘this is going to be a really bad crash’.
“Even when I was in the hospital, for me, the crash wasn’t so horrible.”When I saw the video for the first time, I was like ‘OK, this actually looks quite bad’.
“I watched it for the first time on the Friday after the crash, and of course I was also shocked because it doesn’t look nice at all. It’s really horrible. I didn’t expect it to look that bad because, in the car, it didn’t feel so horrible.
“So the flying [through the air] part, I remember, but it felt different. For me, it felt like sliding on the ground. I don’t know if it’s because it happened so fast, but it just felt the same.
“Of course, it was a little bit strange that I was landing on top of the barriers, but I didn’t get it together, so I also didn’t really think about what it happened.”