One reason why mathematics enjoys special esteem, above all other sciences, is that its laws are absolutely certain and indisputable, while those of other sciences are to some extent debatable and in constant danger of being overthrown by newly discovered facts.
Therefore, straightly speaking, formal science is not an empirical science. It is a formal logical system with its content targeted at components of experiential reality, such as information and thoughts. As Francis Bacon pointed out in the 17th century, experimental verification of the propositions must be carried out rigorously and cannot take logic itself as the way to draw conclusions in nature. Formal science is a method that is helpful to empirical science but cannot replace empirical science.