Fernando Alonso says he ultimately decided that his chase of another Indianapolis 500 effort because Indy cars are just too dangerous.
Alonso, now 42, stepped away from F1 after the McLaren-Honda debacle, but returned last year and is now earning plaudits for being just as fast as ever while also having improved as a person.
"The most difficult challenge I had ahead of me and on the table was to return to Formula 1 and try to win," Alonso told DAZN when asked about his decision to return. "Perhaps there was no precedent for it, and I liked it—it was attractive."
The two-time F1 champion said he first got the idea to return after a short sabbatical in 2020.
"There was a moment when the idea came to me of returning seriously," Alonso said. "I think it was just after the pandemic, in 2020. F1 was delayed for a few months, like everyone else because we were all locked up. In those months of lockdown, we were at home, I had just finished the Dakar and I had to think about the next challenge I wanted to face.
"I knew I wanted to do Dakar again, but that is one race a year, and I know I will do that again. I wanted a program that would complete the season a bit more.I remember watching a race at home, on the sofa, one of the first after the pandemic, and I don't know why I said 'I'm going to try to return to Formula 1'.
"Of all the challenges that remain for me after Le Mans, Indy, the Dakar, the most difficult challenge seemed to be to return to F1 to try to win.
"The difficulty of Le Mans was already in the past and I had won the world championship too."
And why no return to the Indianapolis 500 after qualifying for the race in both 2017 and 2020.
"I didn't really want to return to Indy because of the risk of the oval and the speeds," Alonso said. "And with Dakar, I knew I was going to return—but when I'm older."