Dario Franchitti believes that the finality of his medically-enforced retirement will not completely hit home until he finds himself watching the 2014 Indianapolis 500 from the sidelines.
The three-time Indy 500 winner retired on medical advice following a severe concussion sustained in a crash in the Houston IndyCar race in October.
Franchitti said that he is still coming to terms with not having an opportunity to try to join the ranks of four-time Indy winners.
"Le Mans was something that I really wanted to do in the future," he said. "But the lure of going for a fourth [Indy win] would be tough to turn down. To even be with a chance of going for a fourth would be a reason to go do it.
"May will be tough because of that. But, yeah, that's the hand you're dealt, isn't it?"
Franchitti said that accepting his situation has been a multi-stage process, starting with the immediate concerns surrounding the additional injuries he suffered to his ankle and back, and culminating in Tony Kanaan being announced as his replacement in Ganassi's #10 car.
"Each stage is a little different," he said. "At first it was the pain in the ankle actually. It then became the head and the issues with that. Then it just became not being able to move, just day after day not being able to go drive a car, not even a street car.
"Then realising and being told that I wasn't going to be able to race anymore, that was a whole different stage. Pretty quickly I realised how much I was going to miss doing what I do.
"The next hard part was when TK got announced in the #10 car. As much as I said I wanted that to happen, it was the final, 'oh, this is real'. So that was tough.
"It's been little things like phone calls from people along the way [that have helped]."
NEXT ROLE MUST BE '100 PER CENT'
The 40-year-old reiterated his desire to remain involved with Ganassi, although the nature of any possible role is still to be determined.
He said that he is also open to expanding into other areas such as broadcasting.
"I think whatever you do, you've got to do it properly," he said. "That's something I'd have to take into account.
"Could I work with a team 100 per cent and give 100 per cent to that and be totally focused on that? Broadcast, too.
"If I could, then I'd be interested in it. There's no point in doing anything half-assed. The guys here [at Ganassi] would get pretty pissed off pretty quickly.
"The reason for me to do something here would be to add something to the team. The team here is pretty successful. That's an understatement, obviously.
"I have to add something if I'm going to come along."