Sports Minister Richard Caborn and former F1 champion John Surtees have both said they are confident that the British Grand Prix will take place in 2005.

Talks are believed to be ongoing ahead of the Thursday deadline for an agreement to be reached between the BRDC and Bernie Ecclestone but, speaking during the opening of the new Silverstone Innovation Centre, Caborn said he was hopeful that the opening of the building would only be the first announcement to come from the home of British Motorsport this week.

"I'm hopeful that there will be two announcements this week," he said, "one here today and hopefully tomorrow there will be another significant announcement. I understand progress is being made there, but you can never say until the fat lady sings, and unfortunately, as far as Grand Prix are confirmed, it's very difficult to get the fat lady to sing."

Although BRDC Chief Executive Officer Alexander Hooton refused to comment on the possibility of the race taking place, Formula One legend Surtees, a former member of the BRDC board and the only man to be World Champion on two wheels and four, believes the race will be on the 2005 calendar.

"I always believed there will be a Grand Prix, I never doubted that," he told "I've never doubted that in the end, Bernie was a supporter of the British Grand prix although maybe he didn't see it in the same way as the BRDC members did, but in the end there had to be a coming together because this country is a major market for many of the people who compete in F1 and it is chance for them to go along and show their abilities and powers.

"Silverstone has gone a long way and developed tremendously in the last few years. There's been a lot of criticism but that doesn't really stand up when you look at some of the other circuits in the world and I don't believe that for a Grand Prix you need to go along and provide the type of facility that are being built by government sponsored bodies in places like China. They are wonderful yes, but they need to be sustainable and Silverstone, with it's continuing development programme, is hopefully a sustainable circuit.

"I've always believed that Bernie wants a race to take place here and obviously he wants it be on his terms. He has to create a balance with the other Grand Prix which exist in the world and he can't make a very special exception just for Silverstone. But he is an Englishman, he is based in England and he has come up from the very bottom. He isn't just a financier, he's someone who has been in motorsport all his life so I have no doubt that, in the end, a coming together will take place."