MONZA, Italy (Reuters) - American-Ecuadorian Formula Two racer Juan Manuel Correa has been placed in an induced coma after suffering acute respiratory failure following a crash in Belgium last weekend that killed French driver Anthoine Hubert, his parents said on Saturday.
They added in a statement that the 20-year-old was in a ‘critical but stable’ condition in a London hospital.
Correa suffered a spinal injury and fractured his legs in Saturday’s horrific crash during the support race for the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.
He was transferred to Britain from a hospital in Belgium on Tuesday.
Correa, a development driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula One team and grandson of former Ecuadorian president Rodrigo Borja, underwent more than four hours of surgery in Liege after the accident.
“As time has progressed, new complications have surfaced as a consequence of the massive impact he suffered Saturday in Belgium,” Juan Carlos and Maria Correa said.
“On his arrival to London, Juan Manuel was diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. This is an injury considered common in high impact accidents such as this one.”
The family statement said Correa had fallen into acute respiratory failure and been placed in an “induced state of unconsciousness and under ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support)”.
“We are confident that our son will surprise us like he always does with his tremendous fighting will and strength and will recover completely,” the statement added.
Hubert, 22, died after his car was hit at speed by Correa’s after the French driver had gone off into the barriers at Spa’s fast Raidillon corner.
He was the first driver fatality at a Formula One race weekend since Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger were killed at Imola in 1994.
Formula Two is one rung below F1 and many of the drivers are affiliated to grand prix teams. Britain’s George Russell, now with Williams, won the F2 title last year after Monegasque Charles Leclerc, now at Ferrari, in 2017.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Sudipto Ganguly