Robert Kubica took the FIA's inaugural Personality of the Year award at its prizegiving gala on Friday night.
The accolade was voted for by members of the media covering FIA world championships, who drew up a shortlist of 10 contenders before voting for the final winner.
Kubica beat rivals including world champions Sebastian Vettel, Sebastien Ogier, Tom Kristensen and Yvan Muller, plus team chiefs Christian Horner of Red Bull and Jost Capito of Volkswagen.
Retiring World Rally Championship legend Sebastien Loeb, Sauber Formula 1 team boss Monisha Kaltenborn and World Endurance Championship race director Eduardo Freitas also made the shortlist.
Two years after the horrific rally crash that potentially ended his F1 career and left him fighting for his life, Kubica returned to top-level motorsport this year in the WRC and European Rally Championship.
He dominated the WRC2 class, becoming champion at the first attempt and is considering offers from Citroen and M-Sport for World Rally Car drives in 2014, while also weighing up a return to circuit racing.