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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Contact ends frustrating weekend for Sophia Floersch at Silverstone

"It was especially frustrating on Sunday as we had the right strategy but sometimes luck does not go your way." – Alpine Academy driver Sophia Floersch endured significant misfortune in the latest round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship after being caught up in two unfortunate incidents at Silverstone in changeable conditions.

Lia Block, GRS Team, Spanish Formula 4 Championship, 2024 Le Castellet
Photo credits: Dutch Photo Agency

Alpine Academy driver Sophia Floersch endured significant misfortune in the latest round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship after being caught up in two unfortunate incidents at Silverstone. Floersch battled changeable conditions throughout the event and showed good speed in both wet and dry running. However, a lap one incident forced her to retire from race one, before a smart strategy call in race two gave her the opportunity to score points until contact from a competitor led to a second retirement of the weekend.

After narrowly missing out on her first points scoring finish of the season at the Red Bull Ring, Floersch was targeting a maiden top-10 of 2024 at Silverstone. The British circuit had proven challenging for the Alpine Academy driver in previous FIA Formula 3 seasons with a best finish of 19th in six previous starts leading into the weekend, therefore she was determined to make progress with Van Amersfoort Racing.

With the high-speed circuit causing significant tyre degradation, Pirelli brought the hardest compound of tyre to Silverstone and this was therefore a significant change to the soft compound used at the Red Bull Ring. However, lower track temperatures would lead to tyre warmup being crucial, particularly in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session.

The race weekend began with free practice on Friday morning with cool and wet conditions at Silverstone. With limited sets of wet weather tyres and the potential for more rain during the weekend, Sophia only completed an installation lap during the first half of the session.

After an exploratory lap on slick tyres, rain began to fall in the latter stages of practice and therefore the wet tyres were required once again. Floersch only completed flying laps in the final part of the session when the track was at its wettest and finished practice in 24th position.

Qualifying was initially held in dry conditions with all drivers fitting the hard compound of slick tyre. Floersch was one of the first drivers to set an initial flying lap and this track position appeared important with the threat of rain imminent. After the first qualifying runs, the Alpine Academy driver was just outside the top-20 while showing good pace in sector one.

With the majority of drivers in the pits at the halfway stage, rain started to fall and it appeared that no improvements would be made. However, the rain eased in the final minutes which allowed all drivers who were out on track, including Sophia, to make final improvements. Floersch did improve her lap time and ended qualifying in 25th position with a mixed-up grid at the front of the field providing opportunities to move forward in both races.

Sophia lined up in 24th for race one of the weekend following a penalty for Campos Racing driver Mari Boya. Originally the race was scheduled to take place on Saturday morning, however heavy rain forced the race to be postponed until early evening. Conditions was fully dry when the race got underway and Floersch was challenging for positions into the first turns.

Unfortunately, she received contact from debutant James Wharton and this caused damage to her front wing and suspension, forcing her into the pits. Although the team did a good job to replace the front wing, the damage was too severe to continue and this led to an early retirement for the Alpine Academy driver.

It was a short turnaround for the teams and drivers after Saturday’s revised schedule, with the second race of the weekend taking place early on Sunday morning. Drivers arrived on the grid with slick tyres, but rain started to fall prior to the formation lap and this saw the majority of the field change to the wet weather tyres. Floersch was in the majority on the wet compound, however she pitted at the end of the formation lap to change back to slicks with the rain easing.

The Van Amersvoort Racing crew performed a fast pit stop and this allowed Sophia rejoin as one of the highest places runners now on the slicks. An action-packed first lap led to the safety car being deployed after Cian Shields had stopped out on track, therefore Floersch could catch the rear of the field.

Sophia was up to 22nd at this stage and with the track continuing to dry when the race restarted on lap three, she was instantly making progress. Gaining five positions on the first green flag lap, the Alpine Academy driver was up to 17th and targeting a top-15 spot as the drivers headed down the Wellington Straight.

Misfortune then struck as Alex Dunne rejoined the track unsafely, causing Floersch to take avoiding action and contact was made with Prema Racing’s Dino Beganovic. As a result, the Van Amersfoort Racing machine received substantial damage and Sophia was forced to retire from the race.

It was a challenging weekend for Alpine Academy driver at Silverstone as Floersch was unable to show her potential due to two unfortunate incidents at the beginning of both races.

“Sometimes there are weekends which you would rather forget, unfortunately for us Silverstone was one of those weekends", Sophia commented. "I only managed to do nine push laps over the whole weekend, and I was unable to finish either race due to contact in both meaning I had to retire early."

"It was especially frustrating on Sunday as we had the right strategy but sometimes luck does not go your way."

By fitting the slicks in race two, Sophia was in fact on the correct strategy and was set for a top-5 finish had the contact been avoided.

"Silverstone definitely proved once again that the weather can be unpredictable, but the fans are dedicated. It was incredible to see so many people out there cheering everyone on despite the rain. We are taking the positives from the weekend, and we will aim to turn the page for Budapest again in two weeks.”

Floersch will look forward to bouncing back at the Hungaroring in two weeks’ time where she has never finished outside the top-20 at in FIA Formula 3 competition.



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