File photo: Matthew Childs / Reuters

Silverstone, England - The British Grand Prix looks almost certain to be saved this week as both sides in the long-running saga work frantically towards securing its survival.

An announcement is expected ahead of Sunday’s race that a new multi-year contract has been struck between Silverstone and Liberty Media, the owner of Formula One, saving the world championship’s oldest and best-attended venue.

David Richards, chairman of the British governing body, the Motor Sports Association, told Sportsmail on Saturday: "I’m very positive there will be a successful conclusion before the grand prix.

"The fundamentals, the financial side, have been agreed. It is just the final details that need to be signed off, and I am confident they will be."

London looking less likely

Negotiations hurried up after Sportsmail reported last month that the race was in jeopardy, over the spectre of a rival grand prix in London, on the basis, supposedly, that this new event would hit Silverstone’s pockets by taking away fans.

But the chances of a London race appear to be slight. Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone tried for years to put on a race in the capital without success, and that was before the environmental lobby grew so strong.

Impetus to strike a deal with Silverstone was provided by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Formula One - which includes DUP chief whip Jeffrey Donaldson and former cabinet minister Lord (Peter) Hain - who met F1 chief executive Chase Carey and Richards last week.

The Mail on Sunday reported recently that the MPs wanted to "ensure the British Grand Prix is a success". Silverstone pays £17 million (R300m) to host the race, a figure that the Northamptonshire circuit’s owner, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, a body of 800 motor-racing grandees including Sir Stirling Moss and Lewis Hamilton, struggled to make work.

They only broke even last year despite a record race-day crowd of 140 500 attending the revamped World War Two airfield.

The circuit is revered by drivers and fans, and sits in the heart of the motor sports world. Seven of the 10 teams are based in Britain and the industry creates £2 billion of business and 40 000 jobs.

"I couldn’t support a race in London or the suburbs over Silverstone, when it is one of the greatest race tracks in the world," added Richards.

Daily Mail