Former Formula 2 star Juan Manuel Correa has confirmed that he plans to return to racing in 2021, one year ahead of schedule.
The 20-year-old suffered horrifying injuries in a crash which also involved Anthoine Hubert and Giuliano Alesi during the F2 Feature Race at Spa in 2019.
Hubert would sadly lose his life as a result of the injuries he suffered, while Correa was left fighting for his in hospital with severe leg injuries.
Correa was placed in a coma after being diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, but he was able to come out of it, and after refusing amputation, he underwent multiple surgeries to repair his right leg in particular.
Since November the Ecuadorian-American driver has been back at his home in Miami recovering and recently posted on Instagram as he took his first steps unaided since the incident.
He has now confirmed that he plans to return to racing in 2021, a year ahead of schedule.
Speaking on ESPN’s F1 Podcast, he said: “I never really got a solid prognosis, and it still is very step-by-step.
“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.
“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.
“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 said that Billy Monger, who lost both of his legs after a crash at Donington in 2017, has played a vital role in his recovery.
“He was very much behind me throughout the whole process, he came to visit in the hospital,” Correa said.
“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.”
Correa competed in the latest Formula 1 Virtual Series race ‘in China’.