Juan Manuel Correa has secured a top seat in FIA Formula 3 for 2021, partnering with ART Grand Prix.
Correa, a former Lotus and Alfa Romeo F1 protege, will make his return to major international open-wheel competition for the first time since he was involved in a tragic incident in Formula 2 at Spa-Francorchamps in 2019.
A high-speed collision on that day claimed the life of fellow F2 racer Anthoine Hubert and left Correa in intensive care with severe injuries, including “shattered” legs.
The 21-year-old has been in recovery since, and has taken part in a number of virtual competitions before securing his F3 drive for 2021.
Correa said he is “extremely happy to be back after what I’ve been through” and that his dream “is still to reach F1 and this is the first step in my comeback”.
“My targets are a bit ahead of myself, because I still have to do a lot, I have not driven a car for a year and a half and there is a big learning curve ahead,” he admitted.
“I’m entering this season with an open mind, I won’t put pressure on myself, I will do my best, I will do what I love and that’s already a victory.”
Correa spent a season and a half in F3’s predecessor series GP3, before moving to F2 – where he picked up a pair of reverse-grid podium before the tragic accident ended his season prematurely.
The ART team he is joining finished third in last year’s F3 teams’ championship, and took Theo Pourchaire to within three points of the drivers’ title.
Its 2021 F3 line-up also includes SMP-backed returnee Alex Smolyar and Frederik Vesti, recently announced as a Mercedes junior.
“Since his horrendous accident in Spa, on August 30th 2019, Juan Manuel has been through a lot of phases, always fighting while keeping in mind that he did not want to give up on his dream to keep racing at the highest possible level,” said ART team boss Sebastien Philippe.
“Juan Manuel is an example of bravery and tenacity and ART Grand Prix is proud to give him the opportunity to return to racing.”
The 2021 F3 campaign will consist of seven three-race rounds, beginning with Barcelona on May 8-9.