This week's news that Honda's F1 involvement looks to have finally come to an end makes you even more convinced that some senior people within the sport really did not see the credit crunch coming.

 Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic
ref: Digital Image _64I0922 That is my view, at any rate.

When the community parted company after last November's Brazilian Grand Prix, the talk was all about the prospects for the 2009 F1 world championship. And the new technical rules.

Would the introduction of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) give the F1 business an ecologically positive image? Would the new aerodynamic rules create closer racing and possibly more overtaking? Would slick tyres make the cars safer and more stable? It was almost as if everybody expected it to be business as usual.

Honda, in particular, radiated an optimistic view of the future. Team principal Ross Brawn expressed the view that the team's 2009 car would be the best yet, offering very real hopes of a competitive upsurge in performance. In other words, the huge investment made by Honda over the past five years looked as though it was about to pay off.

Yet within another month the warm and cosy world of Formula One began to become unravelled. You could sense the warning signs. At short notice Honda cancelled their traditional annual press lunch at an expensive restaurant near Oxford. A couple of days later came the news that the team was going to be put up for sale.