AUTO - Sophia makes the switch | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

AUTO - Sophia makes the switch

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21.09.18

With her school year complete, German teenager makes mid-season switch to FIA F3 European Championship

German teenager Sophia Flörsch has stepped up from the ADAC Formula 4 series, where she recorded multiple podium finishes, to join Van Amersfoort Racing in a third Dallara Mercedes for the remainder of the FIA F3 European championship. Having tested with the Dutch team during the winter, Flörsch made her debut with the team at Zandvoort in the fourth round of the series and will contest the remainder of the FIA F3 European Championship campaign as well as the end of season Macau GP. Arriving late to the series following the completion of her school year doesn’t faze Flörsch and the German driver says she is looking forward to the next part of her education in the ‘university’ of European F3. “I had my first ever Formula 3 test in the beginning of this year with them and it was very positive so we kept in contact,” says the Munich-born 17-year-old. “After my school graduation in June we finally signed the contract for the rest of the season. “VAR has got a big past with F1 drivers. They know how to
teach you to become a professional race driver. That’s a huge motivation.”

After an eight-year career in karting, Flörsch intended to move directly into ADAC F4 until a late change of the age minimum forced a useful diversion into the popular first car racing destination of the UK Ginetta Junior  Series. Multiple race wins and podium finishes in the mini GT cars prefaced her move into ADAC F4 series and now into F3 where she has put several series regulars behind her in her first four race meetings at Zandvoort, Spa, Silverstone and Misano. Her initial impressions of the series are overwhelmingly positive. Both team and driver are on an upward curve with VAR recovering from a difficult start to the season with their other two drivers and Flörsch quickly coming to terms with a new machine and working routine.“I was really nervous before the weekend but it got better. Thewhole procedure is different to F4 so everything was new for me.With my second qualifying, being on P14 was really good for me. It is going to be interesting how the rest of the season will be. “It’s my goal to get to Formula 1. To achieve that there need to be small goals in between. That’s the reason why I am just thinking from race to race. I prepare myself the best way possible for that. I am 100% focused on F3 and my training. The rest will come…until then I’m enjoying every minute in a race car.”

Flörsch has been on a trajectory to a full-time racing career since she first stepped into a kart aged five and the move to F3is part of a clearly defined path to the top. It’s a move she tackles with relish and being the only woman in the FIA F3 European Championship is clearly not intimidating. “I am used to being the only girl on the grid so I do not really care. Of course I would be happy if more girls or women would compete in the series but I am also happy with how it is now. When I was younger it always motivated me to beat the boys and show them how to drive and that hasn’t changed. “The guys respect me as every other driver as well. You need to
be fast to make them respect you, but also a boy needs to do that, too, so everything is good. “Even with very few days in an F3 car I can already say that it is the best series I have ever driven. It’s crazy cool to drive this car
on the limit. So professional. So challenging. The FIA F3 EuropeanChampionship is MEGA!”