I had dinner with Ross Brawn (name dropper! name dropper!) just before last year's Canadian Grand Prix.
At the time, he was top gun for Honda's Formula 1 team, having come out of a short retirement after helming Ferrari to a dominant position during the Michael Schumacher years.
By the Canadian race, the team had already given up on the 2008 car, which had been engineered before Brawn got there - all their efforts were focused on developing the 2009 version; drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were left to flounder in the very shallow end of the F1 pool for the remainder of the season.
But Brawn told me the team was in good shape. He liked the personnel he had there, the technology, the support.
Partly because of this head start, and partly because fairly significant changes in the regulations governing the design of the cars meant everyone was more-or-less starting from scratch, Brawn seemed quietly confident things would be different in 2009.
But things got worse - a lot worse - before they got better.
Late last year, to everyone's considerable surprise, Honda decided to pull out of F1 racing. A couple of suitors were interested in the carcass, but especially in the current economy, no-one could - or would - pony up the cash.
It looked like the team would fold.
But just a few weeks ago, Brawn himself pulled off perhaps his greatest engineering feat - he engineered a deal which saw the assets of the Honda F1 team, notably the new chassis, the drivers, the team, most of the facilities, and the slots on the grid for the Grand Prix season, re-branded as Brawn GP.
Brawn had also arranged a supply of Mercedes-Benz F1 engines, essentially the same as used by last year's champion, Lewis Hamilton.
The team had about three weeks to get ready for the first race of the season in Melbourne Australia.
So, what has Brawn GP done lately?
How about one-two in qualifying, and one-two in the race itself, first-time out, Button - Barrichello in tandem in each case?
I can't recall seeing such unbridled enthusiasm in an F1 garage after a race before - and justly so.
The one-two result was even more dramatic given that Barrichello had a fairly major shunt on Lap One, Turn One - it wouldn't be Melbourne without a biggie on Lap One, Turn One.
He had almost stalled off the line, causing the cars behind him to swerve to avoid him. Once he got going, he headed straight to the apex of the Turn One right-hander.
But Mark Webber in the Red Bull car decided HE deserved to be there, and moved to his right. A collision was unavoidable.
On the TSN feed I taped, the new play-by-play guy was never introduced (where did Vic Rauter hosting our feed go??); I gather it was some overly-excited guy named Jonathan Legard, accompanied by the usually reliable Martin Brundle. Both were ready to have Barrichello tarred and feathered, and expected a stewards' intervention at any moment, never mind that Webber clearly ran into Barrichello, not the other way around.
Remembering how the stewards screwed up so many races last year, I wouldn't have been surprised if they did something stupid again to start this year.
But they must have seen it the way I did, because all drivers who survived the melee in one form or other (only Heikki Kovalainen in the second McLaren was too badly damaged to continue) carried on after pit stops for repairs. Barrichello was able to fight his way back, aided in part by other crashes and mechanical woes that affected the other competitors.
His second place was almost as impressive as Button's flag-to-flag win.
Jarno Trulli in a Toyota finished a remarkable third, given he was forced to start dead-last from the pit lane as punishment for having a rear wing which did not meet technical requirements.
So, a podium with no Ferraris and no McLarens?
That's pretty rare these days.
The McLarens were simply never in it, although Hamilton inherited fourth when most of the quick boys crashed or broke. The two Ferraris, while never really a threat, both ended up in the 'crashed or broke' class.
One race does not a season make. And as often is the case in F1, the real results may be decided in the committee room instead of on the track.
You see, the rear diffusers - aerodynamic devices at the lower rear of the car - used by Brawn, Toyota and Williams were protested and declared legal just prior to the race. It is claimed by the protestees that this design is good for something like half a second a lap - an eternity in F1 - and doesn't meet either the letter or the spirit of the rules.
The decision has been appealed; if it is overturned then Australia's results may be overturned, and everyone will be back to Square One, design-wise. If the decision is upheld, the other teams will have their answers probably before three or so races have been conducted.
The season is off to a rousing start.