Correa eyes racing return in 2021, a year ahead of schedule

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Formula 2 driver Juan Manuel Correa is eyeing a return to the racetrack in 2021, almost a year ahead of schedule.

The American-Colombian is currently recovering from severe leg injuries he sustained in the crash at Spa-Francorchamps last year that killed Anthoine Hubert.

Initially, Correa's life was also at risk as he was placed in a coma following lung complications but came through and later underwent multiple surgeries to repair his right leg in particular, after refusing amputation.

Once successful, he returned to Miami last November to start the rehabilitation process and this week posted a video of his first tentative steps unaided on Instagram.

“I never really got a solid prognosis, and it still is very step-by-step,” Correa told ESPN's F1 Podcast of his recovery.

“It was a long process and kind of at each checkpoint we would look at the next prognostic and what was the best outcome and the worst outcome.

“When I left the hospital in London in November, they told me it would probably take me around five to six months until I would be walking on crutches again and using my left leg normally because my left leg was banged up – not as bad as the right one, but it needed a lot of rehab.

“They told me that in their opinion if I could walk within one and a half years, to two years, that would be a good outcome.

“That was in the case that everything went OK with the leg and I could save the leg. There was still a lot to be done for that leg to be ready to walk."

Also Read:

Walking again was the least of Correa's ambitions, however.

“I was very blunt with them [the doctors], I said ‘when can I drive again if I want to drive?’ They said not before two years, this was in November," he said.

“Looking at how it has all progressed up until now, I think I will not be driving this November but probably sometime early next year, if everything goes well, so that’s still almost a year ahead of that prognostic the doctors told me.

“I was in crutches three weeks after they told me it would take me six months, and I am nearly walking now and it has been seven and a half months and they told me it would be a year and a half.”

Correa is already driving again, at least virtually, competing in the most recent F1 Virtual GP around Shanghai for Alfa Romeo on his rig.

And reflecting on his recovery to date, the 20-year-old revealed the role played by Billy Monger, who lost both his legs after a crash at Donington Park in British F4 in 2017 but last year won a race in his first year in Euroformula Open Championship.

“He was very much behind me throughout the whole process, he came to visit in the hospital,” said Correa.

“I felt with him we had a very strong connection because he knew what we both had been going through. He knew how it felt.

“He was a big inspiration because he’s actually racing again, so that’s my benchmark to say ‘OK I can do this and I can come back’, so that was very important.”