Ahead of the French Grand Prix, Sauber Academy has today announced that FIA Formula 3 racer Juan Manuel Correa will join the Sauber driver development pathway for the 2021 season.
In 2019, Correa was involved in a serious crash with Anthoine Hubert on the second lap of the feature race of the 2019 Spa-Francorchamps FIA Formula 2 round, Belgium. Hubert subsequently died from his injuries, and Correa's injuries were severe enough to eliminate him from further competition in the 2019 Formula 2 season.
After a lengthy rehabilitation, the 21-year-old made a sensational comeback this year and he is currently competing in the FIA F3 Championship with ART Grand Prix. The Ecuadorian-American racing driver knows the Hinwil squad very well, having tested one of the team’s cars in 2019. That test, held at Paul Ricard, the same venue that will host this weekend’s round of the F3 calendar, gave Juan Manuel the first taste of Formula One machinery and represented a big learning opportunity for the Ecuadorian-American driver.
Having integrated well with the team and having had the chance to work with the engineers and crews of race drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi, Correa, who was competing in F2 at the time, impressed with his work ethic and innate talent, bringing the test to a successful end with 62 laps to his name.
Commenting on his new role, Correa said: “It’s very special to be back with the Sauber Academy: they’re the junior programme of the team I was with in 2019, when I had my first and only F1 test, and it’s a great feeling to be working with them again. I am very excited to show the Academy’s branding on my car and my helmet already from this weekend in France and I am looking forward to helping the team whenever needed, be it in the sim or elsewhere.
"I am very grateful to ART and Sébastien Philippe, and of course to Fred Vasseur, for all the support he has given me, and to everyone else at Sauber, from Beat Zehnder to all those who have been absolutely amazing and so supportive since my accident and throughout my recovery. It’s an honour to be back with this team.”
Sauber Motorsport Sporting Director, Beat Zehnder added:“Juan Manuel always displayed skill and determination, but his remarkable comeback from injury is an inspiring story that shows all his strength and will power. We have nothing but sheer admiration for his tenacity and we are happy to help him, through the Sauber Academy programme, as he resumes his motorsport career.”