A 17-year-old German driver spent at least seven hours in surgery on Monday following a dramatic crash at the Formula Three Macau Grand Prix. Sophia Floersch’s vehicle was flung at high speed towards photographers and marshals, leaving her with a fractured spine.
Photographer Christiaan Hart captured a set of stunning, frontline images from of the incident as the F3 car smashed into his media bunker. Hart told HKFP that everyone was flung to the floor inside the hut: “It all happened so fast, the speed, sound and impact was shocking… by the time I saw the car lift, it was like a bomb going off.”
Hart was uninjured, but two other photographers were hospitalised, along with a marshal and Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi.
Hart said the media bunker was completely destroyed, but he was able to keep shooting thanks to his position in the hut: “[T]o get a clear shot head-on, standing on the right side was the best option. One photographer inside was positioned more left, he was taken to hospital with mild concussion, I believe. As you can see from the images inside, it’s lucky no one got killed.”
During the race on Sunday, Floerch’s Van Amersfoort Racing car took a sharp right-hand turn over a kerb at the Guia Circuit’s Lisboa bend.
As another car closed in, her vehicle hurtled through the air towards the photographers.
Hart said he had set his camera to a high shutter speed prior to Floerch’s crash in order to freeze any action: “I noticed she was out of control after a touch from another car, I then focused on her. I managed to capture 17 frames until my view was blocked by another photographer in front of me. Next thing I knew we were all on the ground in a daze.”
He complimented the safety teams, who arrived on the scene quickly: “I’ve been watching different videos of the incident all day today and am amazed how lucky everyone was, I still can’t believe it happened. Happy to know Sophia is recovering in Hospital and will be ok.”
In previous years, at least three people have died at the Macau Grand Prix circuit. Most recently, Britain’s Daniel Hegarty died after hitting a barrier at the track’s feature motorcycle race last year.
Still can’t believe what happened yesterday. This was from inside our photo bunker, serious damage. @nytimesphoto @cnn @SCMP_Sport @nytimes @Motorsport @MacauGP @7NewsSydney @9NewsAUS @abcnews @germannews45 @SophiaFloersch @appledaily_hk @fiaf3europe @MotorsportTV_UK @SkyNews pic.twitter.com/qkIACkTQAN
— Christiaan Hart (@christiaanhart1) November 19, 2018