Formula 2 racer Juan Manuel Correa, who was severely injured in the horrific crash at Spa last year that claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert, says he received no support from the FIA immediately after his accident.
Hubert and Correa were both on the receiving end of an unfortunate set of circumstances that unfolded at Spa-Francorchamps.
The young French driver succumbed to his injuries shortly after the crash while Correa suffered multiple fractures to his legs and feet and minor spinal damage.
The Ecuadorian-American driver spent two weeks in an induced coma and battled an acute respiratory distress syndrome that delayed operations on his lower leg before he was pulled out of harm’s way.
“I remember the whole accident until they sedated me when I got out of the car,” Correa told RTL/n-TV.
“I didn’t wake up until the next day in the hospital in Belgium. I saw my legs and noticed how badly they were injured and that I was in a lot of pain.
“But the hardest moment was when I found out that Anthoine had passed away.”
The 20-year-old said he received no support from the FIA in the aftermath of the tragic accident, suggesting that the governing body’s specialized medical assistance could have helped his Belgian doctors in Liège deal with the particular trauma he had suffered.
“Everyone went to Monza the next day after the accident,” he remembered.
“I stayed in the hospital and I almost died four days after the accident. And there was nobody from the FIA or someone who looked after me.
“The reason that I almost died was because of the strong G-forces that you can only have after such a serious accident.
“The doctors in the hospital in Belgium didn’t know what that was because they had never seen anyone who had survived such a big impact.”
Correa’s parents immediately took control of their son’s plight, airlifting him to London where he underwent a series of crucial operations to save his leg.
Now on the mend at home in Miami, Correa still faces a lengthy rehabilitation process to regain his mobility.
Will he return to racing in the future? The determined young man believes he will.
“Yes, I can return, but the timing is unpredictable,” he said.
“It is such a complicated injury that so much can happen that can make a difference between five months earlier or five months later.
“Even if it takes two years to come back, I will come back. I am very sure of that.”
On his road to recovery, there has been no lack of support from fans and the motorsport community for the stricken young hopeful.
But the most heartwarming comfort for Correa has come from the Hubert family.
“A few weeks after the death of their own son, they sent me messages to the hospital and wished me all the best for the operations,” says Correa.
“It was really great for me and mentally it was so helpful to have this support.”