Sophia Flörsch (or Floersch) had already created this feat by finishing in 9th place in Austria of the main race after a wild comeback from 20th place. Alas, PHM Racing n°29 was disqualified for a technical infringement (a story of minimum height of plates at the end of the rear wing).
Flörsch did not wait long to repeat this end in the points since this weekend at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, she finished 7th after starting 24th on the grid. The rain tire strategy early on was the right one. With this finish in the points, the driver scored her first points since 2018 (then in Formula 3 Europe NDLA) and the first points of the season for PHM Racing.
Protected from the Alpine sector, Flörsch therefore becomes the first driver to score in F3. But, driver dabbles in everything, she doesn’t just race single-seaters. It also does endurance, whether in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) or in the WEC (world endurance championship). It has already taken part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 3 times in LMP2 with a 13th place overall as the best result.
At almost 23 years old, Flörsch is (alas) better known to the general public for her spectacular accident in Macao in 2018 than her results in F3 or ELMS. In “the hell of the game”, his car took off on the curbs then on another single-seater to land against a cabin of photographers and against the security fences.
“Officially our first points now. I’m obviously super happy. To be the first points for PHM, because we had no points at all this year and then last year Charouz had no points, so for the mechanics, they are all super super happy too.
We have a break now. There’s only one race left, but I love Monza and we’ll just try to see where we are and what we can do there. It’s going to be super tight and a slippery bet. So we’ll see.”
The tree that hides the forest
Flörsch knows his chances of moving to F2 and doing well there, or even ever moving to F1 are slim, or nil (for F1). If there were still private tests in F1, we could see her on a session in an Alpine, as we saw at the time Suzie Wolff at Williams, Maria de Vilotta at Lotus or Tatiana Calderon at Sauber. But, Flörsch is not asking for preferential treatment. On the contrary, she is one of the female drivers who considers that the “W Series” (the 100% female formula) is a setback for the cause of women in motorsport.
Formula 1 has launched the “F1 Academy”, an F4 reserved for female drivers. The official goal is to prepare female pilots at the highest level. But, if it’s a chance for those who are involved, it could quickly turn into W Series sausage juice, which has only had 3 seasons! Big names in motorsport are still there as a team with Art, MP, Carlin, Campos, or Prema. The championship is largely led by the Spaniard Marta García (23 years old).
The French Lola Lovinfosse (18) is 10th overall. Lovinfosse, Norman like Gasly or Ocon, believes, unlike Floersch, that this unmixed championship is good for the cause of women drivers. Indeed, the differences between teams are small and it is therefore the driving that will make most of the differences. In a mixed championship, the differences between teams are enormous and the budget plays a huge role.
But, this championship will not reveal, barring a miracle, a driver capable of going to F1. It’s only F4 and even Léna Bühler, 2nd in the standings, is 26 years old and has never shone in the past. If one or two F1 Academy drivers come out in F3 and score points, will the goal be considered achieved? If the single-seater still seems very closed for women, on the other hand, endurance is much more open. If we look at the W Series, it has only crowned one and the same driver: Jamie Chadwick. Chadwick who has not found a steering wheel in F3 for example despite his 3 titles…
Lack of ambition?
We are lucky in France to have two good drivers with Doriane Pin and Lilou Wadoux. Wadoux won the 2023 6 Hours of Spa in GTE with the Ferrari 488 GTE after a 2nd place at Portimao in Portugal. Dorian Pin (alias pocket rocket) has already shown his fine burst of speed in LMP2 and is teaming up at Prema with Daniil Kvyat (the former F1 driver) and Bortolotti. After a promising start to the season and a 3rd place in the category at Sebring, the team is back.
In Formula 1, female drivers are rare. They can be counted on the fingers of one hand for those who have registered for a Grand Prix, and even are only 2 to have participated in a GP start. If Maria Teresa De Filippis never scored points, she drove monsters like the Maserati 250F in 1958 and 1959. Lella Lombardi for her part is the only woman to have scored points in F1. 0.5 points exactly at the 1975 Spanish GP (it had not been completed so only half the points were awarded).
Lombardi could have scored more because she finished, for example, 7th in the 1975 German GP on the terrible northern loop of the Nürburgring. But at the time, only the first 6 scored points. And since three women have tried in vain to participate in an F1 GP. So why are there no women in F2 or F1? This is not a priori a question of chances or careers started too late compared to men. In karting among young people, there are still “quite a lot” of girls/women against boys/men. It is after that it becomes depopulated. Fewer sponsors to get a good car/team? Maybe, in any case some say it while emphasizing that they can find support. But the number of women who reach F3 is reduced too drastically to hope to see a woman perform.
In any case, congratulations to Sophia Flörsch for her points at Spa and let’s hope for her that she repeats the experience at Monza for the last stage of the F3 calendar.
Motorsport is one of the rare mixed sports with horse-riding, sailing or… pétanque, for example.