It has been more than a year and a half since the fateful accident at Spa which cost the live of Anthoine Hubert and nearly ended Juan Manuel Correa’s career. But after extensive recovery and numerous surgeries, the 21-year-old will make his comeback in Formula 3. Yes, a step lower than where he was before the accident, but that doesn’t matter to Correa. He’s just happy to be back.
Juan Manuel Correa did two days of testing at Barcelona this weekend with his new team ART GP, and that’s also the venue where he will make his official comeback in two weeks time.
“It has been interesting to drive in the rain and in poor grip conditions,” explained Juan Manuel in a press release. “The car has given me a very good feeling. It is predictable, fun and I really liked the way it handled. My two teammates and I were very close on times which is very promising for the entire program.”
For the afternoon the track was dry and the FIA F3 competitors were able to test in full dry conditions and the day wrapped up very promising for Correa.
Correa continued, “The afternoon session went well and with every passing lap I was able to feel more comfortable in the car. I have to improve consistency and put everything together on the same lap and with that there will be a significant improvement. I am excited and happy that the first races are here in Barcelona, close to home, on a circuit that I really like, but we are going little by little and we will see my improvement.”
“Overall, it was a very promising series test. Yesterday we focused on qualifying simulations with low fuel, new tires, and ultimate pace. It was decent, but we have a little work that we need to do from my side. This morning we did three more qualifying simulations, and there was a clear step forward from my side and I was very happy about that. The pace was actually good, and I was in the top-ten. Everyone was on the same program, so it was quite good. The pace in our last simulation was good and what we will be shooting for in a few week’s time,” added Correa. “Sadly, at the end of the morning session today when we were starting the first race sim my car caught on fire as a short ruined the wiring loom. Fortunately the damage was repairable and the crew got right to work and changed the loom and a bunch of other parts. It took four hours to make the changes, so I was only able to get one long run in the afternoon compared to my teammates and most other drivers that did three or four simulations. Not ideal, but at least it was good to get one race run in before the event as the burn damage was quite extensive, so I was surprised to even get what I did.”
Correa continued, “So overall I am happy how it went and as I said before, there has been a clear step forward compared to my last test at the Red Bull Ring. There is still room for improvement from my side and I am not expecting to close the gaps by the first race weekend but if we can consistently improve, we will get there. That is the best we can hope for and I am excited for the first race. I think the team is in a good place, we know what is needed from the car and the changes that we need to do for the race weekend.”
The first round of the FIA Formula 3 season at Barcelona takes place May 7 – 9.