Robert Kubica will return to Formula One next season to complete a remarkable comeback from a horror injury suffered eight years ago.
Kubica, the Pole, has been announced as a Williams driver for the new campaign, joining Englishman George Russell in the British team from 2019.
The 33-year-old has not taken part in a grand prix since almost losing his life in a 2011 crash in the Ronde di Andora rally.
Kubica’s car flew into the crash barrier at high speed, and though his co-drive was unscathed, Kubica himself was trapped for more than an hour inside the car as the barrier penetrated the windscreen and struck him.
After being air-lifted to hospital, Kubica was in surgery for seven hours to partially amputate his right forearm, before undergoing further operations to deal with leg, shoulder and arm fractures.
Kubica said: “Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me during what was a difficult period of my life over these last few years.
“It has been a challenging journey to make it back to the Formula One grid, but what seemed almost impossible is now beginning to feel possible, as I am excited to be able to say that I will be on the Formula One grid in 2019.
“For sure, it has been a long road to get to this point, but as that challenge now comes to an end with this announcement, a new challenge begins working with Williams on track.
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“It will not be easy, but, with hard work and dedication, both George and myself will work together to try and help the team get in better shape to move further up the grid. This year has been tough, but I have learnt a lot, and I’d like to thank (team principal) Sir Frank (Williams) and (deputy team principal) Claire (Williams) for this opportunity.
Kubica's F1 career
First race: August 6, 2006 (Hungarian GP)
Last race (to date): November 14, 2010 (Abu Dhabi GP)
First pole: April 6, 2008 (Bahrain GP)
First podium: September 10, 2006 (Italian GP)
First win: June 8, 2008 (Canadian GP)
Total races: 76
Total podiums: 12
Total wins: 1
Total laps: 4,203
“Being back on the F1 grid next season will be one of the greatest achievements of my life, and I’m sure with hard work and commitment we will be able to help motivate the team to achieve good things together. Thank you again to everyone who has supported me and believed in me.
“I will finally be back on the grid behind the wheel of an F1 car, and I cannot wait to get back racing.”