BBC terminates F1 contract, Channel 4 takes over

By: Jonathan Noble, Formula 1 Editor

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.

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."