As we filed into the Monza paddock on Thursday 13 September 2001, we did so without the spring in our steps that arriving at that great racetrack usually engenders. But that was hardly surprising: what we had all seen on our television screens just two days before made feeling optimistic about anything impossible.
It was on this afternoon, and against this backdrop, that McLaren announced the signing of Kimi Raikkonen. And, although whooping for joy was clearly out of the question, Ron Dennis made no secret of his deep pleasure at having scooped the young Finn from Peter Sauber's protective embrace.
Peter was sad to have to let his golden boy go, but that sorrow was doubtless mitigated by the US$14 million cheque that Ron wrote him in exchange. No, the biggest loser - perhaps the only loser - was Ferrari's Jean Todt.
Prior to the Raikkonen-to-McLaren announcement, most people had thought Kimi was Ferrari-bound. Indeed, the September 2001 issue of F1 Racing, which went on sale in mid-August of that year, sported on its front cover a fetching portrait of the Kimster above the legend: 'Kimi Raikkonen: Ferrari's next world champion'.