Scripting her own way

Daring to be different - A Sophia Flörsch Story

Scripting her own way
Formula 3 driver Sophia Flörsch (Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES )

In 2018 when W-series launched, Sophia Flörsch's voice was one of the loudest in criticising the series. She famously said that the series was "not the way to help women in motorsport" and it was a "a step back on a sporting level".

"I agree with the arguments [made by W Series] – but I totally disagree with the solution. Women need long-term support and trustful partners. I want to compete with the best of our sport. Please compare it with economics: Do we need separate Women Management/Advisory Boards? No. Wrong way." - Sophia Flörsch

Sophia Flörsch has been a voice against segregation of women in racing. While her arguments are rooted in her amazing journey of competing against men in various series throughout her careers, often being the only woman to do so, it's well established now that female only series at a junior level can help bridge the gender participation gap.

But joining a female only series is not the only option for women. And Sophia's story stands testament to this. Sophia Flörsch was born on December 1st, 2000 in Germany. She started charting at the age of 5 and between 2008 and 2014 participated and won several karting championships across Europe. In 2015  Flörsch took part in the 2015 Ginetta Junior Championship seasondriving for HHC Motorsport and double Ginetta history at Thruxton by becoming the youngest driver to win a Ginetta Junior race, and also the first rookie to win two out of two races in one weekend.

In 2016, a 16 year old Flörsch joined the ADAC Formula 4 championship. On her debut she became the first female to ever score points in an ADAC Formula 4 race. In 2018 she progressed to FIA Formula 3 European driving with  Van Amersfoort Racing, a team with a history of nurturing talents like Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. In 2018 at the Formula 3 World Cup at the 2018 Macau Grand Prix she had a horrible crash with her car catapulting in the air and crashing into the catch fencing at high speed. She suffered from a spinal fracture that required a 10hour surgery. She demonstrated high resilience and skill when she made a triumphant return with the same team in 2019 for a campaign in FRECA.

In addition to formula, Flörsch has also raced in several of the other endurance and Le Mans series. In 2023, Sophia Flörsch rejoined for FIA F3 championship with Van Amersfoort racing and finished 11th ahead of both of her teammates. She's set to continue her F3 stint in 2024 with the same team. Since 2023, she has also been part of the Alpine drive academy, the same academy which F1 driver Oscar Piastri was once a part of. Sophia Flörsch is the first woman ever to race in a Formula 3 race and the first to collect points.

Sophia Flörsch has always competed in mixed category i.e, against and with men. This makes her journey unique in the current F1 feeder series scenario. She's also the only one to do so. She has been vocally against segregation of series on the basis of gender and at the same time she has proved that it's possible to find success without going the F1 academy route. With Alpine's backing and support from Van Amersfoort racing, Sophia Flörsch has created an opportunity and path for herself to progress through the F1 feeder series ladder and reach the pinnacle.

This article is part of series titled "The long road to seeing a woman drive in Formula 1". Find out about what the next season of F1 academy has in its books in the next article.