Juan Manuel Correa admits driving at Spa-Francorchamps will never be just another race for him as he prepares for his emotional return to the circuit with Formula 3 this weekend.
It was at Spa in 2019 that Correa was involved in a multi-car incident that claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert and left the American-Ecuadorian fighting for his own in hospital. While the rehab from the injuries to his legs is ongoing, Correa is competing again in F3 this year and will race at Spa for the first time since the accident this weekend.
“There’s obviously something special at Spa after what happened — it will never be just another race,” Correa said. “I’ll have Anthonie (Hubert) in my mind the whole weekend and I’m sure it will be very emotional, but life is like that and I’ve been preparing for this return for a long time. I feel ready.”
The extent of Correa’s injuries meant he was using a specially adapted brake pedal in the early races this season in order to allow him to apply the required pressure, but he reverted to the usual pedal in Hungary and aims to continue his progress at a track that he counts as a favorite despite his most recent racing experience there.
“Apart from the accident, the Spa-Francorchamps is a track that I’ve always liked. I enjoyed driving there since 2017, which was my first GP3 race and making a debut at Spa is never easy.
“It’s a fast, long track, where it’s difficult to put together the fastest (sector) times in a lap due to its length. I think it’s going to be a good weekend for us. I’m happy with the preparation that we have. I feel in good shape and quite ready. We’ll go there, we’ll work on what we know we need to improve and we’ll try to keep progressing.”
Correa returns to Spa in 19th place in the F3 drivers’ championship with nine points to his name, following four consecutive 14th-placed finishes.