A teenage Formula 3 driver will undergo surgery on spinal injuries after her car became airborne in a horrifying high-speed crash at the Macau Grand Prix.
Sophia Floersch, 17, dramatically hit a curb on the right hand corner of the race track before crashing into fellow driver Sho Tsuboi on lap four of the street circuit event Sunday.
Floersch, who was sitting in 15th place, was catapulted through the air and through the fencing at a speed of just under 280km/h.
The German driver remained conscious after the accident and was transported immediately to hospital.
Floersch will undergo surgery on Monday after suffering a spinal fracture, officials have reported.
Four others including Japanese driver Tsuboi, two photographers and a track marshal were hospitalised after suffering various back, head and facial injuries, reports said.
Floersch tweeted she was “fine” and thanked “everybody for the supporting messages”.
Her father had earlier told DPA she was able to move all of her body.
The race continued after a one hour break and was won by 19-year-old British driver Daniel Ticktum.
Crash of Sophia Floersch on 2018 f3 Macau Grand Prix pic.twitter.com/3HzdEc69c1
— live football (@moezsf) November 18, 2018
Germany’s Mick Schumacher, the son of Formula One great Michael Schumacher, who took part in the race, tweeted: “Our thought are with @SophiaFloersch and the others injured, we hope for the best. #StayStrongSophia.”
Formula 1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Nico Huelkenberg also posted messages on their Twitter accounts wishing a full recovery to Floersch, who has links with Mercedes AMG F1’s young driver program.
McLaren’s Alonso wrote: “All my thoughts are with Sophia Florsch after the accident at Macau. Let’s hope to receive positive news soon! Keep strong.”
Renault driver Huelkenberg said: “Just saw the horrible pictures from Macau… my thoughts are with (at)SophiaFloersch and the other people involved. Stay strong!!”
The accident is being investigated by motorsport federation FIA, a federation official told DPA.
According to Chinese driver Guan Yu Zhou, who was driving behind Floersch, there were yellow warning lamps on the straight just before the accident, which he said seemed to be “an organisational mistake”.
“Sophia was very close to Jehan Daruvala and as he braked early she had no time to react,” he said.
Floersch, who will be 18 on December 1, is competing in her first season in the junior F3 series.
The Macau Grand Prix has been run since 1951 and is known as one of the most demanding circuits in the world.
Many current or former Formula One drivers participated in the event early in their careers with winners including Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher.