When Damon Hill walked away from Formula One at the end of 1999, he was a tired man, apparently sick of motor racing. No one expected to see him back in the sport any time soon.
The incessant pressure, the full-on commitment of F1, and the intense media attention - it had drained Hill. In that final year, he was a shadow of the man who had picked up the baton from Nigel Mansell as Britain's great F1 hope and run so well and so hard for six packed years.
At the end of that final season - the tetchy indecision over his future, the jaded lack of conviction behind the wheel - he was not the only one to feel relief when it was all over. Even for his adoring public, it was time to move on.
And yet six and a half years later, Hill's passion for motor racing, which fuelled him through his arduous climb through the junior categories, is apparently still alive. If it wasn't, how could he accept his nomination to become the next president of the British Racing Drivers' Club?