Quizzed during an interview with Sky Sports F1 on rumblings that Verstappen could leave, Horner responded: “You report those rumblings every week but he’s still here. Look, Max is very happy in the team, he’s got a wonderful group of engineers around him, he’s got a great car, he’s in the best car on the grid, he’s driving in the form of his life.

“It’s not about contracts, it’s about being content, and I think that’s the same for any driver. He has that, he has that dynamic around him, and I think what you’re seeing with him is a driver that’s revelling in that environment.”

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Pushed further on whether Verstappen – who has a deal to race with the team through to the end of 2028 – might have an exit clause in his contract involving Newey, Horner said: “No. I mean Max’s contract is obviously always going to remain confidential, but there’s no clauses with Adrian that link Adrian in any way to Max.

“They’ve enjoyed a good relationship over the years, as have our previous drivers, but Max as well understands that there’s been a planning process to this and it’s not just a knee-jerk [reaction], so the structure will not change with Adrian stepping back.”

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