Fernando Alonso has been reflecting on why he chose to walk away from F1 at the end of 2018, amid the news that Sebastian Vettel will retire from the sport following the 2022 season.
Alonso decided to leave Formula 1 at the end of a largely frustrating stint with McLaren, and went on to compete in various other categories of motorsport, which included the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500 and the Dakar Rally.
However, the Spaniard opted to end his F1 hiatus by returning to the sport in 2021 with Alpine.
In 2023, Alonso will move to Aston Martin to replace Vettel, who announced his impending retirement prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Alonso reflects on why he left Formula 1
Following Vettel's news, Alonso has questioned whether the German shared any of his reasons for wanting to walk away when he briefly left the sport.
"I stopped in 2018, because I had bigger challenges in my head," Alonso told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"I had the Le Mans, I had the IndyCar, I wanted to try cross country rally, so I [had] other challenges.
"In 2018, or '19, the possibilities that I had to race here in the paddock, they were not attractive. It was only one team winning; only [Valtteri] Bottas and [Lewis] Hamilton, they were fighting for each race and each pole position.
"So it was, for me, not the place to be and not a happy place, so I decided to stop. I don't know if that came to play into Sebastian's decision as well, having a competitive or non-competitive car."
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The factors that influenced Alonso's return to F1
After two years away from the F1 world, Alonso made his comeback in 2021. He admits that various factors – including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on other series – had an influence on his decision.
"In [my] time away from Formula 1, we had the pandemic," the two-time World Champion said.
"All the other series, to be honest, were hit quite badly, in terms of the sponsors, manufacturers, things like that.
"Formula 1 [was] still quite healthy, so I thought, in that moment, the biggest challenge was to come back in Formula 1 and try to do well.
"I move always by [my] own challenges, more than what I think in that moment of my career."
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