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Ferrari's new leader arrives in F1

SHANGHAI — Ferrari's new team principal, Marco Mattiacci, arrived at the Chinese Grand Prix on Friday wearing large sunglasses — on an overcast day.

"If you do, in less than four days, almost 40 hours of flying and you don't sleep in the last four days, probably you need sunglasses," he said.

It's been a whirlwind week for Mattiacci, who took over the post Monday when Stefano Domenicali quit after the team's poor start in Formula One.

Mattiacci, the former president of Ferrari North America, said he got a call from Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo last Friday at 5:58 a.m., to be exact, to discuss the job. Hours later Mattiacci was on a plane to Milan, Italy. Now, he's in Shanghai to oversee the struggling team and drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, both former world champions.

"I accepted (the job) because sometimes you can bring a new perspective," he said. "The fact is I need to prove I have the level of Ferrari, first, and a level of Formula One, so you have in front of you an extremely motivated person."

Ferrari won the constructors' championship in 2007, Domenicali's first year in charge, but never captured a driver's title under his guidance. Ferrari hasn't won a race since May, its worst run in nearly 20 years.

In Friday's practice, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time but Alonso was just 0.141 seconds behind. Qualifying was held overnight.

Ferrari's new leader arrives in F1 04/18/14 [Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2014 8:07pm]

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