Motorsport is all about fine margins and pushing the limits - limits that separate glory from defeat, and also those that separate control from chaos. So while Dan Ticktum mastered Sunday’s FIA F3 World Cup in Macau, the race every aspiring F1 driver wants to win, his triumph was tinged with a wider concern for Sophia Floersch, who suffered a terrifying aerial crash - from which she emerged conscious but with a fractured spine...
Just four laps into the event Floersch fell victim to one of the biggest crashes in memory when she was launched over the barriers at high speed.
Having been quickly attended to by medical crews, the FIA confirmed that the 17-year-old German was conscious when extracted from her car and transferred to hospital, and she has since tweeted that she is ‘fine’ but will have surgery tomorrow on a suspected spinal fracture.
The terrifying incident, which you can see above in fan-captured footage, happened just after a restart following an early safety car when Floersch, running down the order, hit the back of Jehan Daruvala’s car.
One marshal and two photographers also sustained injuries in the incident according to race organisers.
When the race was eventually re-started, following a lengthy red flag period, it was Red Bull junior driver Dan Ticktum who seized control, crossing the line 1.2s clear of Swede Joel Eriksson.
Ticktum’s victory – his second successive at the famous street course – will provide the perfect boost for the British driver, coming just a month after he lost out on the European F3 title to Mick Schumacher.
The German had been hoping to repeat the exploits of his father, seven-time F1 world champion Michael, and uncle, six-time Grand Prix winner Ralf, in winning the F3 classic, which has also seen victories by the likes of Ayrton Senna and David Coulthard in the past.
Instead, it’s Ticktum who will take the plaudits, and with it serve another reminder to Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko of his credentials.
There is, of course, still a seat open at Toro Rosso next season, though as it stands Ticktum does not have the required points for a Super Licence, the current points-scoring metric having been ironically put in place following Max Verstappen’s early graduation to F1 under the guidance of Red Bull at the tender age of 17.