its heart in a country more enamoured of NASCAR and oval racing.
Some locals were doubtless more interested in NASCAR's final weekend at Homestead, which clashed with the Austin race, that saw Brad Keselowski winning his first Sprint Cup title with Dodge and denying Jimmie Johnson a sixth championship.
American motorsports fans also had an emotional triple winner to acclaim when Scotland's Dario Franchitti triumphed in the Indy 500, a year on from his late friend Dan Wheldon.
Bahrain defied international condemnation and put on a race that many had expected to be cancelled due to civil unrest and violent anti-government protests.
That race, that saw the sport's ethics and values questioned on front pages around the world, ultimately troubled Ecclestone far less than a court case in Germany, increasing legal actions elsewhere and the shelving of advanced plans to float the sport in Singapore.
At 82, the British billionaire still had a spring in his step after marrying Brazilian Fabiana Flosi, his 35-year-old third wife.
Barcelona, the most predictable race on the calendar, produced a 500-1 winner in Maldonado while Valencia and Abu Dhabi, both yawn-fests in the past, turned out to be thrillers. The latter race even delivered one of the quotes of the championship from winner Kimi Raikkonen.
"Leave me alone. I know what I'm doing," the Finn told his Lotus team over the radio as they offered advice he felt he could do without.
The sport welcomed its first woman team principal when Monisha Kaltenborn took over the reins from Peter Sauber and shuddered at the freak testing accident that cost Marussia's female Spanish tester Maria De Villota the use of an eye as well as inflicting horrific injuries.
If at the start of the season, the smart money would have been on Vettel and Hamilton fighting for the title with Red Bull's design genius Adrian Newey likely to come out on top, next year promises to be different.
Even if Vettel again looks the man to beat in a season where the cars will be very similar - if more attractive due to 'modesty panels' allowed to cover up the broken, stepped noses -