DC: 'Alonso could leave McLaren at any time'

© XPB 

Former grand prix winner David Coulthard thinks Fernando Alonso could “walk away from McLaren at any time” in the wake of another difficult race weekend in Japan.

The Spaniard finished on the cusp of the points-paying positions at Suzuka, but repeatedly voiced his frustration at being overtaken so easily in a straight line and went as far likening his Honda power unit as a “GP2 engine”.

Although McLaren chairman Ron Dennis insisted earlier this year that Alonso was locked in a three-season deal with Woking, Coulthard can see the double world champion throwing the towel in earlier.

“[Alonso] has two more years remaining on his McLaren-Honda contract,” DC wrote in his latest BBC Sport column.

“But the team radio messages he gave during the Japanese Grand Prix betrayed his frustration, as did him saying afterwards that he did not know whether he would still be in F1 next year.

“The fact is, Fernando could walk away from McLaren at any time if he was not happy, and the only thing he would forfeit is money, not face or honour.”

Coulthard then slightly qualifies his statement, as he believes the 34-year-old will see it through to the end of the current campaign and gauge his 2016 challenger before making a decision.

“As we saw with Ferrari's big step forward on the engine front last winter, a lot can change from one season to the next.

“Alonso will get an indication of where Honda are in pre-season testing next year and then validation at the first race of the season in Australia.

“If it looks like Honda has taken a significant step forward, he will probably go marching on. If it doesn't, I could well see someone like that going: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Fernando Alonso has left the building.”

Chris Medland's Japanese Grand Prix review

"I'm joking. You can laugh as well" - Rosberg and Vettel's awkward exchange

Click here for the F1 drivers' girlfriends gallery

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter