Sophia Floersch has undergone a lengthy operation on her spine to repair the injury she suffered in Sunday’s horrific crash at the Macau Formula Three Grand Prix.
Her Van Amersfoort Racing team released a statement detailing the complicated procedure, adding “the initial signs give a positive outlook towards her recovery.”
“It took a team of specialists over nine hours to repair her fractured vertebra and remove a bone splinter, which was sitting dangerously close to her spinal cord,” the statement read.
During the operations, doctors used bone from Floersch’s hip to repair the damaged vertebrae.
The 17-year-old’s car was traveling at 171.6 mph (276.2 kph) when she lost control, going airborne and slamming into the track fence where marshals and photographers were gathered.
Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi, whose car Floersch collided with, was also taken to hospital along with two members of the media and one marshal.
‘I’m going to come back!’
In a first message since the operation, Floersch thanked her doctor in Macau, Riccardo Ceccarelli, and all her fans for helping her through the last few days.
“[I] hope from now on it only gets better,” she posted on Facebook. “I have to stay a few more days in Macau until I’m transportable.
“I want to thank all of my fans for every single get-well wishes, which I now start reading. This really motivates me and gives me courage.
“My thoughts are also with everyone who was involved in the accident. I hope everybody is healthy. “
The German also praised the people who attended to her in the car for their “encouraging, calming words in these tough minutes.”
“Last but not least my Team Van Amersfoort Racing, Facu and Ferdinand, who all suffer with me — you are phenomenal. I’m going to come back!
“By the way,” she finished. “Dallara (car manufacturer) built a very good chassis.”
‘No fear of paralysis’
Van Amersfoort Racing team principal Frits van Amersfoort has told the BBC that “everything is working and everything is in order” following the procedure.
“Paralysis was the main fear,” he explained. “That’s why the operation had to be done quite quickly because there was a danger it [her spinal cord] could be damaged.
“We are extremely happy that she is now recovering and that everything went extremely well. There’s no fear of paralysis whatsoever.”
Despite the terrifying incident, Van Amersfoort said he was “quite sure” Floersch would return to racing “after some time.”
“Luckily enough winter is now beginning so she will have time to recover and I am quite sure that she will be back.
“That’s what the racing blood always does — coming back because this is the sport we all love.”