After the change-around in the Singapore Grand Prix, with Mercedes struggling and Ferrari winning, I was really looking forward to Suzuka.
Of course, I didn't expect Ferrari or Red Bull to dominate, but I did think they could maybe keep Mercedes honest. How wrong I was.
As we head into the closing stages of this year's championship, it seems the old order will continue to prevail.
Suzuka is a great track. A bit like Spa and Silverstone, it has a bit of everything. The drivers love it, the engineers find it a challenge and as for the spectators, they really are like no other tracks to be at.
It's just a shame McLaren-Honda couldn't bring anything to the party to give those spectators something to cheer about. Still, there's always next year. Maybe...
McLaren has won many drivers' and constructors' championships. But the team I see today is not that operation. It has lost professionalism.
Back in the day, McLaren won races and championships because it was way better at the detail work than all of the other teams. Since Martin Whitmarsh was ousted, the team seems to have forgotten how to achieve that.
McLaren drivers were being passed left and right at Suzuka © LAT
The drivers appear are so demotivated that they are starting to say it how it really is. The McLaren speak has gone, and that will rub off on the rest of the team. The negativity will be like a bolt of lightning internally.
As for Honda, it has done an appalling job this year. Yes, the regulations and the controls and limitations on development haven't helped, but there's no excuses for starting off that far behind.
I worked with Honda during my Jordan days. When Honda gets something right, it is really right. But when it goes wrong, there is just no system allowing a change of direction.
For the Japanese GP, Honda always used to be able to bring something special to the table. But this year at Suzuka - nothing. As Fernando Alonso said over the radio during the race, it felt like a GP2 engine!
You could also see how vulnerable the McLarens were on the straight as a result of the ERS problems. You can understand Alonso and Jenson Button being very frustrated.
What this shows is how far Honda is away from understanding what the problem really is. Changes need to be made and made quickly if McLaren-Honda is to have any chance of being a genuine upper-midfield contender next season.
We keep hearing positive words about how McLaren-Honda is the best-placed to challenge Mercedes. But what we need to see are some clear signs of progress.
It's worth looking at what has actually been achieved this year. A total of 17 points (10 of those for a fortuitous fifth place for Alonso in the chaotic Hungarian GP), four top-10 finishes and ninth place in the constructors' championship ahead only of a team running a 2014 car and engine!
McLaren had support in Japan, but there was little to cheer results-wise © LAT
That's hardly a firm foundation. You can say it takes time to make progress, but to get to the front you need to be making steps in the right direction and I've yet to see evidence that McLaren and Honda have found that.
So back to Suzuka and the experience for the viewers. Bear in mind that even amid the glamour of a night race in Singapore a week earlier, the viewing figures dropped.
Everyone blamed that on the Rugby World Cup. But is that really the case?
When the figures are down it is always because of something else. Tennis, golf, football or even tiddlywinks...
In my opinion we have three basics sets of viewers of F1.
The motorsport enthusiast, who will watch F1 at any time night or day. They understand it and are totally engaged with it. They are the Sky Sports F1 viewers, and we know from their figures that there are not that many of them.
In the United Kingdom, they would struggle to reel in a million. I'm not sure that it's that different anywhere else in the world.
Then we have the sports enthusiast, who enjoys sport of any kind. Although I have been involved in motorsport all my life, and predominantly F1, I love watching good sport: golf, football, rugby...the word 'good' is crucial. If it isn't good, I will just skip through if it is recorded, or turn off.
Then we have the casual viewer. These are the big numbers and the people that the sponsors spend their money to attract because it's such a large number of people.
When I started in broadcasting and was trying to bring a better understanding of the technical side of things to the viewer, it was with RTE in Ireland.
Our producer, Michael O'Carroll, took me to one side and gave me a bit of advice.
Suzuka coverage concentrated on drivers further down the order © LAT
He said 'make sure that whatever you are trying to explain is understood just as well by the wife who might just be doing the ironing as by the husband who is an enthusiast'.
Very true words and I will never forget them. But when watching Sky or the BBC, we now don't get that, we get a TV programme.
As far as Suzuka was concerned, most of the race coverage was following Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat dicing for 12th. What was that all about?
Yes, at the front it was a bit drawn out and boring but 90 per cent of the casual viewers have probably heard of Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel. But the others aren't on many people's celebrity list.
The powers to be in F1 need to wake up and realise that, just as I don't care how tight Andy Murray's racket strings are or how much ballast might be inserted into Joe Root's cricket bat.
The casual viewers is where the big viewing numbers are and many of them don't give a damn about what's under the bonnet of an F1 car. They want action and they want a hero to worship.
Yes, the first group of fans will follow F1 very closely and immerse themselves in the detail. But to be truly popular you need to be able to guarantee some excitement.
I could go on forever with this and I do understand why it happens. When I was directly involved with F1, it was everything to me and I didn't agree with what people were saying about it.
But stepping outside of it has given me a completely different understanding.
As the saying goes 'being inside you can't see the wood for the trees' - step outside and you'll see a different world.