ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Robert Kubica will make his return to Formula One next year with the Williams team.
It completes a remarkable comeback for Kubica, rated as one of the quickest in F1 before a gruesome rally accident in 2011 left him needing seven hours of surgery on a partially severed right hand.
The 33-year-old Polish driver impressed in testing for Williams last year and was a reserve and development driver this year. One of the main questions regarding his return was whether Kubica’s fragile right arm could handle the strain of a heavy car.
Kubica says “being back on the F1 grid next season will be one of the greatest achievements of my life,” adding, “It has been a long road to get to this point.”
He earned 12 podium finishes in F1 from 2006-10 – claiming his first pole position and victory in 2008 – and was considered among the sport’s brightest talents.
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Bobby Rahal has driven in some of the biggest races in the world, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 Hours and, of course, winning the Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1986 and in 2004 as a team owner.
But winning the 12 Hours of Sebring two years in a row (1987 and 1988), Rahal feels, is right up there in terms of his greatest accomplishments as a race car driver.
As IMSA celebrates its 50th anniversary, Rahal reflected on what racing at Sebring International Raceway has meant to him:
“To me, Sebring is the ultimate endurance race. Not as long as Daytona or Le Mans, but the demands put on a car and driver at Sebring are highly unusual.
“My father raced at Sebring in the late 60’s. To win that race two years in a row really meant something to me.
“While we’ve won a lot of other races, we’ve won just about everywhere, you name it. But for me personally, winning at Sebring those two years in a row was very special.”