Juan Manuel Correa says he’s more likely to stay in Formula 3 for another season next year than step up to Formula 2, and doesn’t feel ready to succeed in IndyCar.
The American-Ecuadorian suffered life-threatening injuries in the F2 incident that claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert at Spa-Francorchamps in 2019, but returned to race in F3 this year, scoring points on five occasions. While his original plan was to step up to the Formula 1 feeder series again in 2022, he says his outlook has changed as he continues his recovery.
“Originally my thoughts would be definitely I was going up to F2,” Correa told RACER. “It’s still a possibility, but looking at the options of teams we have for next year in F2, we have started also to consider maybe doing another year in F3 with a top team — possibly staying with ART — and trying to fight for the championship.
“Because I have already been in the situation in 2019 when I was in a midfield team in F2 and you can still get a lot of positives from that, you can learn a lot, but I am really looking more now at results and starting to get Super License points, finish in high positions in the championship. And with the teams available next year in F2 that’s not really going to be possible.
“We’re definitely considering doing another F3 year, even if that wasn’t in our plan, and try to fight for the championship and go into F2 the year after, straight into a top team. So we’re working on that. This time of the year is very busy in that sense — a lot of meetings, contracts going around… Finding the budget is a big thing as well and that’s something we are considering. Going to F2, spending twice the amount to be in a midfield team, or spending half the money being in a top team in F3, you know it’s things you take into consideration.
“Also the sponsors sometimes would rather have you winning races in F3 than being 10th in F2. So we’re taking it all into account but nothing is sure at the moment. I will do the F3 post-season test, and likely the F2 post-season test as well, and one thing that’s for sure is I need to do kilometers.
“I’m still not at 100%, I’m not fully, fully back, and I think that’s just a matter of doing more kilometers, having proper testing and keep on building the confidence and my feeling with the car.”
While F3 and F2 tests are in the pipeline, Correa says explorations into IndyCar are a bit premature given where he feels he is in his progress since returning.
“I would be lying if I told you we hadn’t looked at the USA. It’s a big market, big opportunities and really cool categories. You have IndyCar, IMSA, you have sports cars — I would say the probably the only thing I haven’t looked at yet is NASCAR but who knows in a few years!
“So we’re looking at it, but to be fair I don’t think I’m ready to go into IndyCar next year. I feel like I still need one more year to continue the progress of getting back. That doesn’t mean I’m not expecting to get results from the beginning of the year but it’s still an ongoing work.
“IndyCar is one of the most competitive categories in the world — you have a lot of top professional drivers, and I don’t feel ready to go there and win races. I feel I still need one or two more years in Europe, and also I think Europe is proving to be probably the best school for young drivers.
“F3 in my opinion is probably the most competitive category out there at the moment in the junior series; F2 is probably the biggest learning category to then go professional, and I am already in this world. I have opportunities here and I want to exploit that for a few more years.”