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Ferrari's angle of emphasizing exclusivity by limiting deliveries is appearing to bear fruit. The company posted a 7.1-percent increase in revenues to 1.7 billion Euros ($2.2 billion at today's exchange rates) during the first half of 2013. Net profits, meanwhile, saw a jump of 20 percent to 116.2 million Euros ($153.5 million). The Prancing Horse delivered 3,767 cars, which, while an increase of 2.8 percent, represents a rate of growth that's slower than in the first quarter of 2013.
While Ferrari may be actively trying to slow its sales down to below 7,000 in 2013, it's seen increased numbers in the US, Great Britain and Germany, along with double-digit growth in the Middle East and Japan (39 percent and 28 percent, respectively).
The move to limit sales should have a greater impact on the numbers that come in later this year, which we told you about back in May. Ferrari's controversial move has already seen a drop in sales to China, which saw 50 fewer Prancing Horses than this time last year.
The Singapore Formula One Grand Prix is the Monaco GP of the Orient - a weekend known more for its glamour and time-slot than on-track action, with a temporary circuit that punishes every mistake, usually terminally.
Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas got the best of Free Practice 1, opening the curtain on a possible resurgence of Silver Arrows performance. By the time qualifying was done, though, it was his teammate Nico Rosberg who lined up second on the grid, followed by Romain Grosjean with a beautiful performance in the Lotus, Mark Webber in the Infiniti Red Bull, and Hamilton all the way back in fifth. Behind them were Felipe Massa outqualifying Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button getting the McLaren into eighth, Daniel Ricciardo with another good Q3 effort to get into ninth, and the shocker of Esteban Gutiérrez getting his Sauber into the top ten for the first time this year.
At the front of the pack was Sebastian Vettel. Again. But he was only ahead of Rosberg by a single tenth of a second...
The plot thickens and just keeps thickening when it comes to Ferrari's potential return to Le Mans. Antonello Coletta, the head of Ferrari's sports car racing program, first suggested that the new regulations being implemented by the ACO could potentially see the Prancing Horse marque compete in the top-tier LMP1 class. His thoughts have since been echoed by Stefano Domenicali, the head of the Scuderia's F1 team, and by chairman Luca di Montezemolo. And now we're hearing rumors over its potential driver lineup.
Word has it that Ferrari could send Valentino Rossi and Fernando Alonso to pilot its prototype at Le Mans in 2015 or 2016. The rumors were tweeted by Mark Webber (embedded below), who recently left F1 to drive for Porsche at Le Mans - and could amount to pure speculation, to some inside track on hard news or (as is often the case) something in between. One way or another, both Rossi and Alonso are multiple world champions in their fields with strong ties to Maranello and would make a formidable lineup - particularly if paired, we'd venture, with Ferrari's test driver Marc Gené, who won at Le Mans with Peugeot in 2009.
Although the Rossi connection would seem the greater stretch, it might actually make the most sense of the two. With nothing left to prove on two wheels, the seven-time MotoGP champion has been talking about leaving the series. He's test-driven Ferrari F1 cars on several occasions and raced the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series last season. The move would be a rare departure for Alonso, however, who has raced almost exclusively in open-wheel single seaters his entire career, and would need to balance the program with his F1 commitments. That is, assuming he doesn't get fed up with chasing after Sebastian Vettel and teaming with Kimi Raikkonen by then.