Whenever I am in the UK, I am always struck by the intense racing fervour that grips the country, especially in the summer. Indeed, even in bad weather - which is all too common in the UK, sadly, even in the months of June, July and August - race fans come out in their tens of thousands to watch not only the British Grand Prix, the jewel in the UK's racing crown, but also Formula 3, Formula Ford, touring cars, historic cars, hill climbers, everything.
That being the case, even though the British love their World Cup football every bit as much as does any other nation's people, and despite the fact that sports-mad Brits are always glued to their TV screens during the Wimbledon tennis fortnight, Goodwood last weekend and Silverstone this weekend was and will be, respectively, thronged to the rafters with race fans who simply cannot seem to get enough of their sport.
And I think that is fantastic - not least because it gave and will give the Brits something to cheer about now that neither the England football team nor Andy Murray are in contention for World Cup or Wimbledon honours!
The very first Formula 1 race was held in the UK - at Silverstone, in fact, in 1950 - and there has been a British Grand Prix held in England every year since.
McLaren has won the race a mammoth 14 times - second only to Ferrari, who have won it 15 times, albeit six of the Scuderia's 15 victories were scored before McLaren had entered Formula 1 in 1966, making McLaren the most successful Formula 1 team of all as far as pro rata British Grands Prix are concerned, if you see what I mean.
The first McLaren world championship point was scored in a British Grand Prix, too, in 1966, the great Bruce McLaren at the wheel.
I am pleased and proud to be able to say that I won the British Grand Prix twice in my Formula 1 career - once for Lotus, at Brands Hatch, in 1972, and once for McLaren, at Silverstone, in 1975.
That 1975 victory was an incredible race, run in a torrential downpour. I have devoted a mclaren.com/formula1 blog to it before, so I do not propose to describe it in exhaustive detail again now. Suffice it to say that it was a very stressful day, and a very impressive team effort, and I was driving the iconic McLaren M23 at the time - the car in which I had won McLaren's first world championship the year before, 1974, and the car in which James Hunt would win McLaren's second world championship the year after, in 1976.
A lap of Silverstone with Kevin Magnussen
That car, the M23, was an extraordinarily durable machine in terms of its long-term competitiveness, making its grand prix debut in 1973 and finally bowing out of racing's premier league in 1977. It won 16 grands prix all told, and it did so during a period in which Ferrari were at the top of their form, their extremely powerful flat-12 engines powering Niki Lauda, Clay Regazzoni and Carlos Reutemann - and their 312B3s, 312Ts and 312T2s - to no fewer than 19 grand prix victories during the five seasons in which the M23, year after year after year, remained a contender in Formula 1.
The Lotus 72 was a very successful and long-lived car too - it was the car in which I won my first world championship in 1972 of course - but the Ferraris it serially defeated in the early '70s were unexceptional by comparison with the super-fast flat-12 rockets with which the McLaren M23 was forced to compete in the years that followed. Even so, I regard it as a fabulous privilege to be able to say, as I can, that I won my two world championships in the two most dominant Formula 1 cars of the decade in which I drove, the Lotus 72 and the McLaren M23, icons both, cumulatively responsible for no fewer than 36 grand prix wins.
Last weekend I was reunited with my world championship-winning M23, the very car in which I won my second and McLaren's first world championship, driving it at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It was quite an emotional experience for me, not least because this year marks the 40th anniversary of that roller-coaster season, 1974.
Little did we know, then, so long ago, that McLaren would go on to achieve the prodigious levels of success that we have seen over the past 40 years. But they have - and the fact that McLaren has become such a truly great name in the history of racing makes me that bit more proud to have contributed my own small part to that monumental success story.
McLaren has won 20 world championships all told, 12 drivers' and eight constructors', and I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to be part of the little team that 40 years ago scored drivers' championship number one and constructors' championship number one.
“Give me Goodwood on a summer’s day"
Since then, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton have all become world champions at the wheels of McLaren Formula 1 cars, and countless others have won grands prix in the team's always beautifully presented cars.
The two current drivers, Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, are by their own admission unlikely to add to that tally this weekend, through no fault of their own, simply because this year's McLaren MP4-29 is not yet quite quick enough, and especially not on fast circuits such as Silverstone.
That is a pity, but of one thing you may be certain: McLaren will be back. The guys with whom I worked to win the team's first ever world championships, drivers' and constructors', 40 long years ago, may no longer be working at McLaren, but their successors share our ethos, our determination to succeed, and our will to win.
And win again they will.