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Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday
  • Horner says F1 budget cap back on agenda
  • Heidfeld stakes claim for Kubica's Renault seat
  • Lauda slams 'unreasonable' Kubica after crash
  • Banned Symonds returns to F1 with Virgin

Horner says F1 budget cap back on agenda
(GMM)  The idea of budget caps in formula one triggered a political war two years ago, but it is back on the agenda now according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

The 2010 drivers' and constructors' champions have been accused of breaching last year's FOTA-initiated Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA); a limit on certain areas of team spending.

But it is Red Bull's Horner who has now told the Guardian newspaper that the sport should stop tinkering at the edges of cost-cutting.

"We agree with restricting activity but don't cherry-pick ... let's do a transparent once-and-for-all deal with this," said the Briton.

He said talks for an overall limit on team spending are "heading in the right direction".

When asked if there is a difference between what he is talking about and Mosley's budget cap, he answered: "That's a very good question."

Heidfeld stakes claim for Kubica's Renault seat
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld has moved tantalizingly close to securing a race drive for the 2011 season.

The prime candidate to replace injured Robert Kubica, 33-year-old German Heidfeld tested the Renault R31 at Jerez on Saturday and topped the timesheet.

Team boss Eric Boullier said he had made a "very positive" impression.

Heidfeld told F1's official website that he had started the day with the aim of doing his "best to get me a future drive", and ended up kicking off the new car's development program.

"I think that the car was already different in the afternoon from where I'd picked it up in the morning.  I think we've improved it over the course of a test session," he said.

Heidfeld's pace was also obvious, as after 15 laps he was already six tenths faster than his potential 2011 teammate Vitaly Petrov.

"Yes, I think I've done a good job," said the former Prost, Sauber, Jordan, Williams and BMW driver.

"What others interpret into that time is not up to me," he added.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel admitted Heidfeld "looked pretty good" in the black and gold Lotus-sponsored car at Jerez.

"That the Renault seems pretty competitive we've already seen in Valencia," added the Red Bull driver, "and his life as a pensioner obviously can wait!"

Lauda slams 'unreasonable' Kubica after crash
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has criticized Robert Kubica for putting his F1 career at risk by rallying.

The F1 world has united in support for the Polish driver after he suffered horror injuries during a minor event in Italy recently.

Renault is now facing the 2011 season without its star driver, attracting the rebuke from triple world champion Lauda: "It makes no sense for him to put his job and his life at risk like this.

"Was it unreasonable?  Of course it was."

The Austrian great said Kubica, 26, should have been banned from contesting rallies.

"He has to ensure that he can do his job, and his job is formula one.  Only he is to blame for what happened to him," added Lauda.  "Did he have to be doing this?  No!"

In his first interview since the crash, Kubica justified his passion for rallying on the basis that it keeps him sharp amid F1's severe restrictions on track testing.

Answered Lauda: "That's nonsense -- rally driving has nothing to do with formula one.  They are different sports."

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, however, defended Kubica.

"Anything can always happen around the next corner so this has nothing to do with his rallying activity, and it was not his first rally," he told F1's official website.

"I think I speak in the name of all when I say that he is recovering fast and that he will be able to get back into his beloved F1 cockpit very soon," added Vettel.

Meanwhile, Lauda said he thinks Ferrari and Red Bull are currently a step ahead of their rivals for 2011.

"They have both been fast from the start, which is always an indication that it will be a good year for them.  McLaren's new car is full of ideas and makes a good impression.

"Mercedes needs to make two steps to get at all those teams, yet it is not possible yet to say if they can do it," he added.

Banned Symonds returns to F1 with Virgin
(GMM)  Pat Symonds is back in F1 with the Virgin team.

The crashgate conspirator revealed last month that he wants to return to the sport, even though like Flavio Briatore he is banned from having an "operational role" until 2013.

But it is believed long-time Renault engineering director Symonds' company Neutrino Dynamics was engaged for consultancy work last year, and British media reports reveal he will be working with the Virgin team in 2011.

"He's allowed to do consultancy work through his company," confirmed the team's president Graeme Lowdon, according to News of the World.  "I can see only positive things."

The Daily Telegraph said 57-year-old Symonds' new role is as a consultant.

"The FIA reached an agreement with Mr. Pat Symonds in April 2010 that he would be barred from returning to the sport of formula one until the end of 2012," confirmed a FIA spokesperson.

"However, it was also agreed at the time that Mr. Symonds could act in a consultancy capacity via his own company Neutrino Dynamics.

"This fact was extensively reported in the media at the time.  Therefore the FIA has no further comment to make on this matter."

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