F1weekly podcast # 377



Nico Hulk

Shape of things and wins to come: Please enjoy our conversation with Nico Hülkenberg recorded at Mugello last year where he won the F3 Euro Series race.
Last Sunday he wrapped up the GP2 Championship in his rookie year. Rich in racing talent the young German from Emmerich is managed by Willi Weber, and is currently test driver for Williams Grand Prix team.

For more information on this star of the future please visit his website


Podcast number 377

Is Alain Prost to replace Flavio Briatore at Renault F1?

"I am putting in Bernard Rey my full confidence once all the facts have been settled, we can make a clear reaction," Carlos Ghosn,  Renault SA chief Executive.

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed and…

Special Interview with GP2 champion Nico Hulkenberg.


Carlos Ghosn joined Nissan as its chief operating officer in June 1999, became its president in June 2000 and was named chief executive officer in June 2001. His turnaround of Nissan has gained him celebrity status in Japan, where he has published books and even has a manga character based on him.

When he joined the company, it had debt of $20 billion and only three of its 48 models were generating a profit. Ghosn was viewed as an outsider by the media and parts of Nissan. Ghosn promised to resign if the company did not reach profitability by the end of the year, and claimed that Nissan would have no net debt by 2005. He defied Japanese business etiquette, cut thousands of Nissan jobs, shut the first of five domestic plants, and auctioned off prized assets such as Nissan’s aerospace unit. His radical moves have made him Public Enemy No. 1 to Japanese traditionalists. However, in one year, Nissan’s net profit climbed to $2.7 billion from a loss of $6.1 billion in the previous year. Nissan’s operating profit, or earnings before interest and taxes) margin has increased from 1.38% in FY 2000 to 9.25% in FY 2006.

Prior to joining Nissan, Ghosn had served as executive vice president of the Renault Group, a position he had held since December 1996. In addition to supervising Renault activities in the Mercosur, he was responsible for advanced research, car engineering and development, car manufacturing, powertrain operations and purchasing. He became president of Renault in April 2005.

Before he joined Renault, Ghosn had worked with Michelin for 18 years. As chairman and CEO of Michelin North America, Ghosn presided over the restructuring of the company after its acquisition of the Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Company in 1990. Previously, Ghosn had worked as the COO of Michelin’s South American activities based in Brazil; as head of research and development for industrial tires in Ladoux, France; and as plant manager in France.

Kirk Kerkorian recently urged General Motors Corporation to consider a partnership with Nissan and Renault. Carlos Ghosn expressed interest in Renault acquiring up to a 20% stake in General Motors Corporation at a dinner with Kirk Kerkorian that took place around 20 June 2006. Kerkorian had hoped to attract Ghosn to General Motors as CEO, forcing out then GM CEO Rick Wagoner, as Kerkorian believed Ghosn’s approach to the auto business and success in turning around both Renault and Nissan make him best-suited to run General Motors.

Talks with GM broke off without any alliance or commitment from either side; Kerkorian has since sold off all shares in GM.

Not so well known, is that Carlos Ghosn was also in the auditing committee of Mirant’s board, a firm that went bankrupt in 2003 after severe liquidity and accounting problems. Mirant was Arthur Andersen’s second largest client in the power industry, right after Enron.