BBC terminates F1 contract, Channel 4 takes over

The BBC has announced that it has terminated its contract to cover Formula 1, opening the door for the sport to move across to Channel 4.

BBC terminates F1 contract, Channel 4 takes over
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team with Eddie Jordan, BBC Television Pundit
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 with Suzi Perry, BBC F1 Presenter and David Coulthard, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Advisor / BBC Television Commentator
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 with Lee McKenzie, BBC Television Reporter and Craig Slater, Sky F1 Reporter
(L to R): Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 Live Pitlane Reporter with Jolyon Palmer, Lotus F1 Team Test and Reserve Driver
(L to R): Eddie Jordan, BBC Television Pundit with Chris Evans, Broadcaster and Sir Tom Hunter, Businessman on the grid
David Coulthard, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Advisor / BBC Television Commentator with Lee McKenzie, BBC Television Reporter and Bernie Ecclestone

Following increased speculation over the past week, the BBC announced on Monday that it had 'reluctantly' had to abandon coverage of the sport.

Channel 4, meanwhile, confirmed a three-year deal to become the home of F1 in the UK.

BBC'S Radio 5 has extended its coverage deal until 2021, however.

Barbara Slater, BBC director of sport, said: "The current financial position of the BBC means some tough and unwanted choices have to be made."

The BBC had to save £150 million as part of a costs cutting drive – with £35 million of those savings coming from its sports division.

Slater added: "A significant chunk of BBC Sport's savings target will be delivered through the immediate termination of our TV rights agreement for Formula 1.

"Any decision to have to stop broadcasting a particular sport or sporting event is hugely disappointing and taken reluctantly.

"There are no easy solutions; all of the options available would be unpopular with audiences."

Channel 4 takes over

Channel 4 announced it will broadcast 10 live races, including practice and qualifying sessions until 2018.

It will also broadcast highlights of all 21 races of the 2016 season.

"I am sorry that the BBC could not comply with their contract but I am happy that we now have a broadcaster that can broadcast Formula 1 events without commercial intervals during the race," said Bernie Ecclestone.

"I am confident that Channel 4 will achieve not only how the BBC carried out the broadcast in the past but also with a new approach as the World and Formula 1 have moved on."

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