(Reuters) – Formula Two driver Juan Manuel Correa will undergo over 10 hours of surgery on his right leg on Sunday in order to avoid amputation, four weeks after being injured in a crash that killed French racer Anthoine Hubert.
The Ecuadorean-American, who was taken out of a medically-induced coma last week, was now “fully conscious”, a statement issued by his family said, with his lungs having recovered enough for doctors to attempt the surgery.
Doctors had given Correa the option of a “reconstructive amputation” of his right foot, the statement added, but the 20-year-old had decided to proceed with the surgery instead.
“Sunday’s surgery will be crucial in determining Juan Manuel’s future,” said the statement.
“During surgery, they (doctors) will save what can be saved and remove what needs to be removed in order to rebuild his right lower leg to the best possible condition.
“The surgeons are the top in their field and are cautiously optimistic given the fast-paced recovery that Juan Manuel has had in the previous week.”
Hubert died when his car was hit at speed by Correa’s after the French driver crashed into the barriers and returned to the track at Spa’s fast Raidillon corner during the Belgian Grand Prix support race on Aug. 31.
He was the first driver fatality at a Formula One race weekend since Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger were killed at Imola in 1994.
Correa suffered a spinal injury and fractured his legs in the crash.
He was transferred from Belgium to a specialized intensive care unit in London this month and was moved to another hospital specializing in orthopedic surgeries earlier this week.
Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Mumbai; editing by Sudipto Ganguly