Twelve months ago, Silverstone was a very different place - both literally and metaphorically.
A few miles to the north, Donington Park was being laid waste to as Simon Gillett dug towards an ultimately unfulfilled dream of a British Grand Prix that might have buried the race forever. Inside the paddock, the FIA v FOTA war boiled over and a breakaway championship was announced following a meeting down the road at Renault's Enstone base. Formula 1 had been shrouded by dark clouds that made the race itself - won by Sebastian Vettel - was almost invisible.
Today, things are a little different. There may still be tension surrounding FOTA - witness Bernie Eccestlone's "there is no space for FOTA" statements - but the threat of the sport being ripped apart has subsided. The British Grand Prix is still here, Silverstone is still here as a Formula 1 venue, albeit with a modified track configuration and instead of politics, the watching world is looking forward to a weekend when the on-track action is more than a footnote.
The events of the past two years, since the announcement that the British Grand Prix was headed to Donington was made to throw a shadow over Silverstone's 60th anniversary celebrations, have cast the Northamptonshire airfield in a new light. Despite giving away a few decades to those other living shrines to earlier eras of grand prix racing that remain on the F1 calendar, Monza and Spa-Francorchamps, it is one of European motorsport's holy places. While Donington came to grand prix racing 13 years before Silverstone, the younger track has reminded the detractors that its claim to be the home of British motorsport has a lot to it.
So to the future. Since what has been retrospectively credited as the first British Grand Prix (as distinct from the first grand prix in Britain on October 2 1948) Silverstone has changed, changed and changed again. So it's appropriate that in the year that marks the 60th anniversary of the first world championship grand prix, the track has morphed anew.
At some tracks, the removal of several corners would be tantamount to vandalism, but not at Silverstone. The circuit configuration has never been core to Silverstone's appeal, unlike a Brands Hatch or a Donington, with this place it is all about history. That, and the stunning crowd that has supported the race in recent years.
Come the start of Sunday's British Grand Prix, it will have been 60 years and 59 days since the all-conquering Alfa Romeos led the field away in world championship race number one. Although Silverstone has not always been on the calendar, it has had 44 points-paying races and, to many, is represents the soul of British motor racing. But in recent times the track's custodians, the British Racing Drivers' Club, have set aside the in-fighting and controversy that marked the stewardship of previous years to re-establish it at the heart of motorsport.
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button address the media © LAT
But once the serious stuff starts on Friday, it will be all about the now. For many in the grandstands, it will be all about whether there is a British winner with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton the stars of the show. Being team-mates, it's inevitable that the relationship between the pair has been the focus of the media's attention (funny that, given the deluge of oh-so-pally virals that have been emerging from Woking in recent weeks), although neither was biting on the topic in this afternoon's press conference.
As Mark Webber put it, "I think the press are bored," before a series of very stilted answers from Hamilton, Button and Fernando Alonso, the latter of which, after all, has previous when it comes to intra-McLaren politics. There was a weariness about the drivers, with Button in particular dismissive of the media circus.
"It's great that the weekend is here as we will have something good to talk about hopefully, on Formula 1 as a whole, as we are always looking for a story leading up to the British Grand Prix," he said. "It is all over now, which is good and we can concentrate on the important bit."
But everyone already was concentrating on the important bit - the bit that takes place on the track on Sunday afternoon. With team-mate rivalries, title fights and the prospect of a famous home win, how satisfying it is to be able to get excited about the racing.
A classic British Grand Prix at Silverstone would be the perfect riposte to the sour taste of what happened in 2009.