Max Verstappen has chosen not to end rumours that he might leave Red Bull, it has been pointed out, at a time when the team’s domination is being challenged.

The confirmation of Adrian Newey’s exit came days before Verstappen and Red Bull were beaten to glory at the F1 Miami Grand Prix by McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Although Verstappen remains on course for a fourth consecutive F1 title, the swirling turmoil at his team – and the 2026 regulations – might convince him to seek pastures new.

“What I don’t believe is a coincidence, is that Max doesn’t go ‘the Mercedes rumours are untrue, I am staying at Red Bull for the rest of my career’,” F1 Explains podcast presenter Christian Hewgill told the F1 Nation podcast.

“Which he has, sort of, said in the past might be the case. But he doesn’t at the moment.

“We are seeing solid signs of it closing up a little bit. Red Bull lose their advantage in terms of the pack closing up, we go into a new rules cycle in 2026 where the formula is more dependent on engines.

“All the engines are close together. Mercedes, by their very nature, is an engine supplier.

“Yes, it’s coincidence. But are we now going down the hill of Red Bull’s domination?

“If we are – and without Newey in the mix – does it give Verstappen more to think about long-term? Potentially.

“He could be stronger coming out and saying ‘I am not going, I am staying, it doesn’t matter what Adrian does’.

“But he hasn’t put the rumours to bed.”

He added: “I don’t think Red Bull have anything to worry about short-term or medium-term. But long-term it’s a different story.

“History shows us that dominance never lasts. Being on the right side of clever driver moves, where you spot the end of one era and the start of another one, is why Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time champion and why Fernando Alonso is a two-time champion.” Editor Greg Stuart said about Norris’ maiden grand prix win in Miami: “People enjoying Red Bull’s domination less, this is an exciting moment.

“Verstappen and Newey, this partnership that has just taken F1 by the horns since 2022 in terms of domination, will go their separate ways.

“We don’t know if Max is considering other options. We don’t know if Newey will come back to F1.

“If McLaren come on strong, and start to show performance consistently to fight Red Bull, then Red Bull won’t have the expertise to rely on. They won’t have Newey to say ‘we will throw this upgrade on’. They aren’t going to have that.”

Verstappen remains at the top of the wish list for Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, who must replace Lewis Hamilton in 2025.

Despite Verstappen driving far better machinery this year, Wolff has appeared intrigued about the F1 champion’s long-term future.

Questions have arisen about whether Verstappen will stay at Red Bull all year, started by the controversy surrounding Christian Horner.