New Ferrari chief needs time - Fernando Alonso

Ferrari's new team principal needs time if he is to have a chance of turning around the team's form, insists driver Fernando Alonso.

Marco Mattiacci has replaced Stefano Domenicali, whose resignation was announced on Monday.

"We need to give him time and see how he settles down," Alonso said.

Asked if it was a problem Mattiacci had no Formula 1 experience, he said: "It's too early to say if it'll be a very good thing or very bad."

Mattiacci - from road cars to F1

"Marco Mattiacci faces a steep learning curve as he starts his new role as Ferrari's team principal in China this weekend.

"He comes to the team from a position as chief executive officer of Ferrari's North American operations, following the resignation of Stefano Domenicali in the wake of a disastrous race in Bahrain and a disappointing start to the 2014 season.

"Mattiacci has backing from the very top of Ferrari's parent company Fiat - he is close to its chairman John Elkann.

"But how well that, and experience selling Ferrari road cars has prepared him for the machinations of F1 and the horrendous pressures inherent in running the most famous team of all remains to be seen - as Fernando Alonso wisely said on Thursday."

Alonso has finished runner-up to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in three of the last four world championships, missing out in 2010 and 2012 by narrow margins at the final race of the season.

Ferrari had hoped they would be at the front following the introduction of new rules this season, which include new turbo hybrid engines, a fuel restriction and aerodynamic changes.

But their car is at least one second a lap slower than the dominant Mercedes car used by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Robserg.

After two fourth places for Alonso in Australia and Malaysia, the Spaniard could manage only ninth in the last race in Bahrain, with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen 10th.

Domenicali resigned after that race, saying it was "time to make an important change".

Alonso said in China he had not been able to speak to Mattiacci, formerly the chief executive of Ferrari's North American operations, adding: "I didn't have a chance. I don't know if he is coming here, I guess so."

Alonso said he and Raikkonen would "try to help him in whatever field our help is required" and added that Domenicali, who had been team principal since 2008,  had made a difficult and admirable decision.

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"It's not easy, when you have a very privileged position in one F1 team to be able to step back and to say maybe it's better to move," said Alonso. "But he did it, just for Ferrari's interest and improvement, so that's something we cannot forget."

Alonso said Domenicali's resignation would make no immediate difference to Ferrari's form, as he had not been responsible for designing the car or engine.

"Probably we need to wait a little bit of time and see what we can improve and try to help all the team with the new people coming to make us a little bit stronger and try to get back some of the success from the past," he said

Raikkonen added: "Obviously everyone's a bit surprised, but it was Stefano's decision and life goes on. I'm sad because he was a great guy. I have worked with him for many years."

On Mattiacci, Raikkonen added: "I don't know him, but he has great people around him and for sure a lot of people to help him. I don't see there will be any issues.

"I'm sure it will be very good what he does. He will not change things suddenly around and make miracles because we know where we are and what we have to improve. It doesn't change overnight."

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