Juan Manuel Correa: The Greatest Comeback

Juan Manuel Correa makes his miraculous return to the F3 track this season.

Written by Chloe Harper Daly

May 15, 2021

On the 31st of August 2019, Formula Two fans tuned in for the second race of the weekend, the Spa-Francorchamps feature race. Not one of us knew that we would witness the most devastating crash in years by lap two.

Juan Manuel Correa is a 21-year-old Ecuadorian-American racing driver for ART Grand Prix in Formula Three. He began karting in 2008 and has raced for the legendary Prema Powerteam and was a Sauber Junior development driver. During his 2019 Formula Two season, he achieved two podiums before his life was changed forever, and he had to retire from the season. 

Photo via @FIAFormula3 on Twitter

Nearly two years ago, Juan Manuel Correa was involved in a three-car collision that tragically killed fellow driver Anthoine Hubert. Correa suffered severe injuries to both legs, his spine, and multiple organs. Because of the severity of his injuries, he spent the two weeks after the crash in a medically induced coma. Since then, he has endured multiple surgeries, countless hours of physiotherapy, and the mental work it takes to rehab. On Instagram, JM took his fans along with him through his long recovery, documenting all the important milestones and the tough days. Spending months in a wheelchair, learning how to walk again, and having his leg in a metal cage for an extended time did not stop Juan Manuel Correa from coming back to racing, as this weekend, he competed in his very first race since the accident.

“Racing is really what I love and it only took me a few days to realise I wasn’t going to lose my love for racing that easily. I needed a challenge to motivate myself and do the long journey I have ahead of me,” He told in an interview with ESPN, “Coming back to racing is really a challenge that motivates me and keeps me in a positive mind frame. That’s why this comeback is very important for me.”

After the accident, JM had trouble with his mental health, and he opened up about those struggles in Formula Two’s latest Chasing The Dream docuseries. He discussed his depression in a rare moment of vulnerability in such a “macho man” sport. Very rarely do athletes, especially male athletes, feel comfortable sharing their feelings and struggles. Correa truthfully opening up about mental struggles was a message to every viewer that it is ok not to be ok. That message will hopefully inspire the next generation to be more open about their mental health. He stated in the series that he feels the responsibility to represent Anthoine, saying, “I want to follow our dreams,” and there is no doubt that, like many of us, he was thinking of Anthoine on his big weekend. Juan Manuel Correa has shown true bravery and strength not only in his recovery but his vulnerability through the process. 

Photo via @ARTGP on Twitter credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

The results from his first weekend back show Juan’s pure determination and talent. We saw him place 13th for qualifying, 15th in race one, 10th in race two, and 14th in race three. While these results might seem average to some, the fact that he was in the top half of the grid while still dealing with physical limitations is incredible. Scoring points on his first race weekend since August 2019 is a fantastic result. He even had some good battles with the likes of Prema’s Arthur Leclerc, showing JM certainly didn’t lose his racecraft in his time away. It is hard to sum up, a person like Juan Manuel Correa in one word, but the best one can do is inspiring. Hopefully, he has a great season and can continue following the dreams of his friend. 

Racing for Anthoine. Always.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, I’m Chloe and I have a huge passion for motorsports. I want to work in media in the future and I love writing. My favourite drivers are Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and my favourite team is McLaren. You can find me on Instagram @chloeharperdaly.

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