Floersch: Macau changes “the right thing” after 2018 crash
Sophia Floersch says the “right thing” has been done in the changes made to the Lisboa corner at Macau, where she crashed spectacularly in Formula 3 last year.
After colliding with Jehan Daruvala’s car in 2018 Macau Grand Prix, Floersch hit the inside wall and was then fired airborne into the photographer’s bunker at high speed, resulting in a lengthy injury layoff which included a fractured vertebrae.
In reaction to Floersch's crash and as part of the need to upgrade the circuit’s homologation status to make it eligible to field the new FIA F3 car, seven areas of the circuit have been changed including the Lisboa corner.
At the infamous 90-degree right-hander in front of the Lisboa Casino, the gap between the inside wall and the kerb has been reduced, while additional fencing has been added. A new tyrewall has also been installed and the photographers’ bunker has been removed.
“I think the FIA is just doing the right thing,” said Floersch in relation to the changes. “I hope that it will help. You cannot really touch the sausage kerb at that angle anymore, so you can’t start flying.
“We’ll see in the race, but I hope and think something like this won’t happen again.”
Floersch returned to racing in the Formula Regional European Championship with Van Amersfoort Racing this season, but a long-term tie up with HWA culminated in a deal to drive one of the team’s F3 cars in the Valencia post-season test and at Macau.
However, the Valencia test day Floersch drove in was wet, meaning her first laps in the car in the dry came as her first at the Guia circuit since her crash.
Sophia Flörsch, HWA Racelab
Photo by: Alexander Trienitz
Asked how it felt in those early laps, Floersch said: “I didn’t really feel any different. It’s just a lot of information at one point, having a virtual safety car on the outlap, having the car for the first time and all that stuff.
“It’s a lot to learn, I’m here for learning. I think there’s no pressure, it’s just getting the confidence, step by step, the more laps the better so no crashes, hopefully.”
Floersch was 20th in free practice one and provisionally qualified 23rd, but could still improve with one more session on Friday morning remaining to improve her position.
The changes to the track have been almost universally praised by drivers thanks to the fact that the corner angles and speeds have not been affected in most cases by any quest to meet homologation requirements and/or improve safety.
Reigning FIA F3 champion and Ferrari F1 junior Robert Shwartzman said: “It’s quite the same, it didn’t really change the track much. The car is different from last year, but it’s fun to drive it as well. I was expecting way worse at this track with this car, but it actually handles really well.
“It’s good, they improved the safety and they didn’t cause any difficulties for the drivers on track.”
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