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Latest F1 news in brief - Friday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Glock signs BMW deal, Kubica happy after DTM debut
  • Portugal in running for 2013 race - Ecclestone
  • Lotus yet to sign Honeywell title deal
  • Ferrari's Alonso to sit out Jerez test
  • DTM race seat 'possible' - Kubica New
  • Pirelli wants 2014 deal by April New
  • Ecclestone backs Mercedes shakeup New

Glock signs BMW deal, Kubica happy after DTM debut
(GMM)  Former Marussia driver Timo Glock has agreed a three-year contract to race in Germany's DTM touring car series with BMW.

That is the claim of Sport Bild, reporting that the deal will be announced officially on Friday.

Shortly after Marussia announced it is replacing the 30-year-old with an as-yet undecided pay-driver, Glock headed to Valencia where he tested BMW's M3 DTM car.

"The car is great," he said.  "I can finally go for wins.

"The team already feels like family to me.  I'm all fired up for the season."

The 2013 DTM season begins at Hockenheim in early May.

Former BMW and Renault driver Robert Kubica has also been in action at Valencia this week, testing Mercedes' DTM car.

"I was able to get to grips with the car and felt very comfortable, even though after my long break it meant adjusting to the high downforce," said the Pole.

"I'm very pleased with my performance on this first day of DTM testing and had no problems whatsoever in the car."

Meanwhile, there are reports 2012 HRT driver Narain Karthikeyan is considering a switch to the US-based IndyCar series for this year.

Portugal in running for 2013 race - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Portugal has emerged as a candidate to stage the vacant twentieth race date on the 2013 calendar, and France is also in the running.

That's what Bernie Ecclestone said in an interview with Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

Asked about the mid-season and so far unnamed 20th race set aside for a European venue, and also the uncertainty surrounding the venue for the German grand prix, the F1 chief executive admitted: "Frankly, I don't know.

"For the free date, there is interest from France and now also Portugal with the new Algarve track," he said.

"For the German grand prix, it's still open," he said, amid reports either the Nurburgring or Hockenheim could end up hosting the early July event.

Asked if Austria's Red Bull Ring has a chance, Ecclestone answered: "I am glad to be here (holidaying in Austria).  But we have too many races in Europe."

Turning his attention to F1's 2013 season, the 82-year-old insisted there is "no reason" why Vettel cannot continue to chase Michael Schumacher's record by winning a fourth consecutive title this year.

He added: "I expect much more from Mercedes with Lewis (Hamilton) involved, and if they are good then also Nico (Rosberg) has a chance.

"You can't forget Jenson (Button), although I doubt McLaren will be right at the front.  It will be an exciting year."

Lotus yet to sign Honeywell title deal
(GMM)  Lotus is yet to sign a title sponsorship deal with Honeywell, the American technology giant.

Last month, it emerged that the Enstone based team was close to a $30 million per year deal with Honeywell, hot on the heels of Lotus' high profile signing of a sponsor deal with Coca-Cola brand Burn.

But Switzerland's Speed Week now reports that the Honeywell deal is "still a way off".

Team boss Eric Boullier is quoted as agreeing: "There is still nothing signed."

Lotus is scheduled to launch its 2013 car, the Renault-powered E21, on Monday.

Ferrari's Alonso to sit out Jerez test
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso will not drive Ferrari's 2013 car until the second test of the pre-season, the Italian team has announced.

Maranello based Ferrari said it will be Felipe Massa at the wheel for the first three days of the four-day test at Jerez early next month.

And it will be new test driver and Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa making his Ferrari debut on the final day of running.

"In the meantime and throughout all the first part of February, Fernando Alonso will intensify his physical training", Ferrari said in a report on its website.

The team said the double world champion will only debut the as-yet unnamed 2013 Ferrari at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, where he will drive for the first three days of the second four-day test.

Ferrari's racing duo will then share the running at the final Barcelona test, meaning that Brazilian Massa will head into the start of the championship with six days of running under his belt, compared to Spaniard Alonso's five.

Ferrari justified de la Rosa's day of running on the basis that his new role will be principally focused on simulator driving.

"His day on track on 8 February will be very important," the website report read, "as it will allow both the team and the driver to work specifically on looking at the correlation between the virtual and the real experience."

Meanwhile, Brazil's Totalrace reports that Nico Hulkenberg will be giving Sauber's new C32 its debut at Jerez, before teammate Esteban Gutierrez takes over for the second half of the four-day test.

DTM race seat 'possible' - Kubica
(GMM)  Robert Kubica is not ruling out a move to the DTM series for 2013.

The Pole tested Mercedes' touring car for the German category this week and, according to Auto Motor und Sport, was "immediately almost at the same speed as Mercedes top-dog Gary Paffett".

For now, DTM is arguably the highest category of motor racing suitable for the former BMW and Renault driver, given the limited mobility of his right arm.

"Of course I would rather be driving a formula one car," he is quoted as saying, "but I have to take one step at a time and hope that one day I get the opportunity to sit in a F1 car again."

After a long break from top-level competition in the wake of his 2011 rally crash, he insisted the high-downforce nature of his DTM test at Valencia was no problem.

"As long as I have enough space - and I do in a DTM car - then it's no problem," said Kubica.

He admitted a race seat is now a possibility.

"This was just a test to see how it feels to drive a DTM car," said the 28-year-old.

"The DTM season starts quite late, so there is a little more time.  It's definitely a possibility, but it depends on various factors.

"But the most important one is that my pace is right and that I feel comfortable in the car."

Pirelli wants 2014 deal by April
(GMM)  Pirelli wants a new F1 deal to be signed and sealed within three months.

That is the claim of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, referring to the Italian marque's expiring three-year contract as the sport's official supplier.

When launching the new F1 tire range for 2013 this week, Pirelli chief Marco Tronchetti Provera confirmed that the marque wants to continue the "adventure" beyond this year.

Auto Motor und Sport said he wants the answer by April.

"We need to know what's going to happen," motor sport director Paul Hembery confirmed.

"It's also important for the teams because so much is changing in 2014," he added.

Indeed, with the switch to turbo V6 engines, the downforce and weight of the cars is changing significantly, as is the torque that will be put through the rear tires.

Ecclestone backs Mercedes shakeup
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has backed the changes taking place at Mercedes.

Earlier, beleaguered team boss Ross Brawn played down claims the F1 chief executive may be playing a role in the power struggle, as Austrians Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff reportedly pull their weight against Brackley's old guard including Brawn and Nick Fry.

Asked about the shakeup, Ecclestone - holidaying in Kitzbuhel, Austria - told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper: "I hope it means that Mercedes is much stronger.

"I trust that the new team leaders Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff ... it's new people with new ideas.

"Mercedes has the best engine, strong drivers, enough budget -- I would be disappointed if they are not at the front," the 82-year-old added.

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