Jacques Villeneuve has admitted his chances of making a return to formula one next year are "very slim".

The international media has been getting excited by the 1997 world champion's recent attendances at grands prix, and declarations in the press that he is in talks to reprise his career that netted 11 wins until 2006.

But as he prepared to contest a NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event near Montreal on Thursday, the 38-year-old confessed his negotiations so far have been "mostly exploratory".

"I would return tomorrow if the opportunity was there," Villeneuve said. "And there's not many years available to do it so I guess it's now or never."

He said the feeling he got from talks at Silverstone three weeks ago was "quite positive" but admitted a firm contract is not yet on the horizon.