Fernando Alonso denies claims he could leave McLaren-Honda mid-season

Fernando Alonso of McLaren-Honda with Chinese fans
"China here we are!" Alonso has been out and about meeting fans before this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has rejected claims he could walk away from McLaren-Honda during this season.

Honda's new engine is less powerful and less reliable than last year's and McLaren are struggling towards the back of the field as they go into this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

But Alonso said: "I prefer to be here than in a supermarket in my home town."

He said claims from friend and former driver Mark Webber that he could quit mid-season were "definitely not true".

"If one ex-driver is interviewed, there is always one question about Alonso, on the situation, how difficult it is," the 35-year-old Spaniard said.

"Everyone [acts like they are] close to me and it's like I have a depression, and it's not like that.

"In F1, I am delivering at my best, I am more prepared than ever. I perform at my best."

Engine has 'done a step backward'

Alonso was on course to earn an unexpected point for 10th place last month in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix after what he said was "one of the best races of my life".

He held off two other cars until damage caused by a broken brake duct forced a late retirement.

"The team is not very competitive now; there's nothing we can do from one day to another," he said.

"At the same time, the team is expecting an extra result from me now, as we did in Australia, when the predictions say we are last.

"If in China they say we are last, hopefully Alonso will be in the points."

However, Alonso said it was "a little bit difficult to understand" how the engine could have "done a step backwards this year".

Engine-related failures during F1 testing: Mercedes 0, Ferrari 1, McLaren 7

He added: "We are working very hard for the last couple of months to fight for podiums and victories and if we can't do that we need to change the situation.

"It is what we are asking for. We are here to win and we are not winning so we need to change something."

BBC Sport revealed last month that McLaren had approached Mercedes about the possibility of using their engines in the future.

Alonso said: "I have nothing really to say. I know there is some media speculation about things. I read also the things. But as far as I am concerned there is no news."

Alonso's contract with McLaren runs out this season and there is continuing speculation that he could switch to Mercedes in 2018 to partner Lewis Hamilton, whose team-mate Valtteri Bottas has signed only a one-year deal.

Alonso said: "It is a question for the future. Nothing is ruled out.

"I respect [Hamilton] a lot. We like to compete and beat the best. Same with Michael [Schumacher]. It was fantastic to win titles when Michael was on the track as well, because if not they do not have the same value."

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