After nine seasons with McLaren, David Coulthard will make way for Juan-Pablo Montoya at the end of the year. But the Scot, one of the longest-serving drivers currently in F1, does not think his departure from Woking will signal the end of his grand prix career.

After nine seasons with McLaren, David Coulthard will make way for Juan-Pablo Montoya at the end of the year. But the Scot, one of the longest-serving drivers currently in F1, does not think his departure from Woking will signal the end of his grand prix career.


As the grand prix circus heads for Hockenheim in Germany, the F1 season is already past the halfway mark. Where Coulthard will go in 2005 is not yet clear, but the Scot is sure he will be on the F1 grid.


"I'm confident there is a drive for me in F1," Coulthard said. "I'm not stressed about it. I'm not clutching at straws. I'm a world-class driver capable of winning grands prix. I would be a valuable asset to any team."


"Wherever you are, you have to be professional and motivated. You have to believe that you can make a difference and that you can help to develop a package," he added.


McLaren-Mercedes has shown a return to form since the MP4-19B debuted in France two weeks ago. At Magny Cours, Coulthard qualified third on the grid and scored points in the race.


"People know what I'm capable of doing relative to the car," he said. "That said no one knows who comes second, let alone eighth and ninth - where I have been finishing. That's why I was very happy to be on the second row of the grid in France."


The rumour mill has linked Coulthard with Williams-BMW. However, the Grove-based team's director of engineering Patrick Head has said in the past that Coulthard would not really be the ideal candidate to replace Montoya because, during the past 10 years, the Scot was unable to win the championship even though he had a title-winning car at his disposal (1998 and 1999 seasons).


Toyota and Jaguar could also hire Coulthard next year and there's the possibility of him staying with McLaren as test driver.


But Coulthard dismissed the idea of becoming a test driver: "I'm firmly focused on racing next year."


As for when an announcement about his future will come, he was equally to the point. "When there's something to say - and that's always going to be decided by more than just myself."