Sebastian Loeb thinks his chance to make a one-off switch to Formula 1 has now passed, after his push to get on the grid in Abu Dhabi failed.
The Frenchman had been eager to race in F1's season finale in Abu Dhabi, but his hopes were dashed at the first hurdle when the FIA deemed that he did not fulfil the criteria for a mandatory superlicense. With the chance for next weekend now gone, Loeb thinks his F1 ambitions will now have to be put on hold forever.
"I told myself that I will probably only have one opportunity like this in my life," Loeb said on his official website. "That was why I accepted. There, it is gone. I did not get the superlicense this time, [and] I do not see how I could get it without preparation and the necessary tests in F1.
"All the more since the two championships would have been finished. Button won his world title last weekend, and the WRC title is at stake this weekend. So, my participation would not have got in the way of either championship. Finding an opportunity like that again seems very unlikely. All this put together, I do not think this opportunity will present itself again."
Factions within energy drinks company Red Bull were keen for Loeb to make a one-off switch to F1, because of the huge marketing opportunity that it offered. He was most strongly linked with one of the seats at Red Bull's junior team Scuderia Toro Rosso, although team principal Franz Tost said that no talks had taken place with him about the matter – and he was against slotting the rally driver in for promotional reasons.
Even though Loeb's F1 dream has now officially ended, he said he was not too disappointed at missing out on the opportunity to experience top-level single-seater racing.
"I take things as they come," he said. "Anyway, there are no regrets because there was no ambition. The only regret I have is that I'd have had fun doing it. It was a fun project. But hey, that's how it is! At least now I know.
"There are no more questions. It would have kept the journalists busy: they have been able to make assumptions, analyses, etc. It will have kept them well occupied right up until today."
Loeb said Citroen had wanted an answer from Red Bull about if it was going to definitely see through with its idea to put him in a car by earlier this week, so as not to cloud this weekend's World Rally Championship showdown in Great Britain.
Despite giving up on a race switch, Loeb has admitted that he would love to test an F1 car again.
"If my boss lets me go, yes," he said. "It's always a pleasure to drive an F1 car. If I have another opportunity to get back into a single-seater car, I will not pass it up.
He added: "Now I will focus only on Rally Great Britain with my sights set on the world title. It is just as exciting or more exciting than an F1 Grand Prix."