Former Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali believes Fernando Alonso's outside challenges cater to his need to prove he is one of the best drivers of his generation.
The McLaren driver embarked on a trip outside of his comfort zone last year when he tackled the Indy 500, and will continue to venture beyond F1 - and seek to win motorsport's Triple Crown - when he races in this year's World Endurance Championship with Toyota.
Domenicali, who managed the Spaniard at Ferrari for four years between 2010 and 2014, and who now works for Lamborghini, believes Alonso's need for bold challenges stems from the depressed situation he has endured at McLaren for the past three years.
"Fernando is looking for challenges outside of Formula 1 because his team is going through a difficult period," the 52-year-old Italian told Italy's Corriere dello Sport.
"He wants to demonstrate his skills, to prove that he remains one of the best in the world."
For all his lack of success in the recent past, and a decade after his last world title, Alonso remains one of the best F1 drivers on the grid.
"Who is stronger: he of Hamilton?" he asked.
"It's difficult to assess. Someone is better in qualifying, someone in the race, someone psychologically.
"Today at the top there are three drivers: Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel. The differences between them are minimal and depends on the cars they drive."
Looking ahead, Domenical is projecting another fierce duel between Mercedes and Ferrari, but Red Bull will also be a contender.
"I think this year we will see the Ferrari and Mercedes duel again. But you cannot forget about Red Bull who will surely win several grands prix."
Finally, Domenicali was asked if Lamborghini might come into F1 any time soon.
"Formula 1 is not a priority for Lamborghini, at least for the next five years."