Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said he was "extremely happy" after Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, secured its place on the race calendar for the next five years.
Ecclestone had given the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), owners of the track, until Thursday to agree a deal or have the race axed for the first time in 54 years. The 74-year-old Briton, who will present his final version of the calendar to the International Automobile Federation (FIA) in Monaco on Friday, confirmed the deal was done.
"I am extremely happy that with the help of (chairman) Ray Bellm of BRDC, we have reached a five-year agreement with Silverstone," he said in a two-line statement.
Bellm said in a separate letter to members that the BRDC would promote the race to 2009. Terms of the agreement were confidential. The race date will be confirmed on Friday. French federation (FFSA) president Jacques Regis has said he expects Magny-Cours to take Silverstone's July 3 slot which clashes with the Wimbledon tennis men's singles final.
The British Grand Prix is now expected to move to the following weekend, with Germany completing a hat-trick of races in successive weeks.
The 2005 calendar will now have 19 races, the most in the history of Formula One. Britain has hosted a Grand Prix every year since the first Formula One Championship race at Silverstone, a former World War Two airfield, in 1950. Six of the 10 teams are based in England.
Thursday's announcement ended a long-running saga of on-off negotiations between the BRDC, Ecclestone and the British government to secure the race's future. Ecclestone, who once famously likened Silverstone to a 'country fair masquerading as a world event', has been a constant critic of the BRDC and of president Jackie Stewart despite being a member himself.
He initiated libel proceedings against Stewart in October when he also declared the race dead - only for it to be reinstated on a provisional calendar. While the circuit's traffic problems have been largely resolved by new roads, the facilities are a world away from new tracks in China, Malaysia and Bahrain.
Most recently, Silverstone's future has been threatened by the lack of a willing promoter.
The BRDC had leased the circuit to US advertising giant Interpublic as race promoters until 2015. However, Interpublic paid Ecclestone $93 million this year to take back the rights and extricate themselves.
"Securing the promoters' rights to the Grand Prix will enable the club to plan its future and future development of the circuit in an orderly and well thought out and planned basis," said Bellm.