In order to save money the BBC has ended its F1 broadcasting deal early, with Channel 4 set to take over from 2016
After being asked to save more than £35m from its budget, the BBC Sport has given up its broadcasting rights for F1 as of the 2016 season, three years earlier than planned. Channel 4 will reportedly take over, although the specifics of the deal including who will commentate and present the new show are not yet known.
The BBC originally took over the hugely expensive rights to broadcast F1 from ITV in 2009, but gave up exclusive rights in 2012 with the launch of Sky’s subscription-only F1 channel. After this point, the BBC only broadcast ten live races, with extended highlights of the others nine shown after the event.
Although television coverage will be getting the chop, the BBC’s Radio 5 Live coverage of F1 races has been confirmed to continue until at least 2021. Channel 4 has so far confirmed that the package of races will remain the same as the BBC’s. ITV was once again in the running, but it was Channel 4’s pledge to run the race in its entirety without adverts that swung it in its favour.
Barbara Slater, the BBC's director of sport commented: ‘The current financial position of the BBC means some tough and unwanted choices have to be made. Any decision to have to stop broadcasting a particular sport or sporting event is hugely disappointing and taken reluctantly’. She continued, ‘These are very challenging times for the BBC and sport is not immune to those financial pressures.'