Carlos Tavares is a racing nutter. The 55-year-old Portuguese national has been racing for 33 of his 55 years, initially in saloon cars, then rallying but afterwards in Formula 3 and the World Series by Nissan World.

Most recently he has competed from time to time in the Big Open Single Seaters (BOSS) series. He is only an amateur in racing terms but he has great influence not least because until recently he was Carlos Ghosn’s number two at Renault.

In this role he was largely responsible for the decision to relaunch Alpine as a sporting brand and fluttered around the edge of the Renault F1 programme, although these came under Ghosn’s direct control.

Last summer, however, the two men busted up as Tavares realised that Ghosn was going to stay on until his retirement, leaving the younger man with no chance of getting the top job. So he left Renault after 30 years in the company and has recently joined Peugeot, Renault’s biggest rival.

Tavares is expected to take over as CEO of the company in March, after the visit to France of China’s President Xi Jinping. This is significant because it is expected that there will be an announcement of a major restructuring at PSA Peugeot-Citroën with new shares being issued to China's Dongfeng Motors and the French government, giving each of them a 14 per cent share in the business, the same as the Peugeot family.