LONDON (Reuters) - Former Formula One driver Robert Kubica will contest all 13 rounds of next year's world rally championship in an M-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta, a move that ends any immediate prospect of his return to circuit racing.
The Pole, a Formula One race winner whose grand prix career ended before the start of the 2011 season when he suffered a near-fatal accident during a minor rally in Italy, made the announcement in a statement on Friday.
M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson said he was thrilled by the partnership.
"Since he burst onto the WRC rally championship scene earlier this year, we have been very keen to have him on board," he said. "I think that we can expect some great things from him in 2014.
"You only have to look at the way Robert prepared for the 2013 season to see what it all means to him. He has a desire and a hunger which you don't see in many drivers..."
The 29-year-old won the second tier WRC2 championship in a Citroen this year and competed in the season ending British round of the main championship. He won the inaugural FIA 'Personality of the Year' award this month.
M-Sport said in a separate statement that Finland's Mikko Hirvonen, winner of 15 rallies and four times a championship runner-up, would be returning to their Ford team from Citroen next season.
Welshman Elfyn Evans will drive their other car.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Patrick Johnston)