Channel 4 will replace the BBC as the terrestrial broadcaster of F1 races from next year, as the broadcaster looks to make significant cost savings
Darren Moss
21 December 2015

The BBC will not televise Formula One from next year as part of cost savings by the broadcaster.

In a statement made today, BBC Sport said it would be “reluctantly” terminating its television broadcast contract for F1 from next year - three years earlier than planned.

The move is expected to make a significant contribution to the £35 million savings BBC Sport has been asked to deliver. While highlights of F1 races will no longer be shown on BBC television, BBC Radio 5 Live has extended its radio commentary rights to F1 until 2021.

The BBC broadcast 10 out of 19 rounds live in 2015, and showed highlights of the remaining nine.

From the start of the 2016 season, Channel 4 will become the terrestrial broadcaster for F1, partnering with Sky, and sticking to the same package of highlights and live races. The broadcaster has promised that live races will be shown without advert breaks. Channel 4's contract lasts until 2018.

BBC Director of Sport, Barbara Slater, said: “the current financial position of the BBC means some tough and unwanted choices have to be made.

“A significant chunk of BBC Sport's savings target will be delivered through the immediate termination of our TV rights agreement for Formula One.

"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."

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said he was disappointed that the BBC wouldn’t be honouring its existing contract. Ecclestone said he was “confident” Channel 4 would offer “a new approach as the world and Formula One have moved on.”

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Channel 4 boss David Abraham said: "Formula One is one of the world’s biggest sporting events with huge appeal to British audiences. I’m delighted to have agreed this exciting new partnership with Bernie Ecclestone to keep the sport on free-to-air television.”

Blog - Has the BBC stepped down from F1 just in time?

Join the debate


21 December 2015
How can Channel 4 afford it, without showing adverts, when BBC supposedly CAN'T. Also, the story doesn't confirm live races split will be 50/50 as it was in past seasons. Can't they drop the Olympics!

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

21 December 2015
xxxx wrote:

How can Channel 4 afford it, without showing adverts

Channel 4 won't be showing adverts during the race, but will during the broadcast.

21 December 2015
But how many can they squeeze in before and after the race to make up for 90 minutes of live TV without adverts?


21 December 2015
I am not entirely surprised. At least those wishing to watch on terrestrial TV rather than lining the pockets of Murdoch still have access.
But to be honest, so many people turning off F1 now that it is a broken flush...I am not sure there is money to be made from it for anyone by the time Ecclestone has taken his cut.
At least this leaves Suzy free for Top Gera now!

21 December 2015
F1 has got to the point where I usually watched the start and then fell asleep. I never switched on until a minute or two before the start as I found 3 people walking about trying to make it interesting tiresome ! At least we won't be paying for their wages now, and all the others it deemed were needed to bring this 'sport' to us.

21 December 2015
Gotta have SOMETHING to break the boredom....!


21 December 2015
... the BBC should focus on sport, not F1 and lining Bernie's pockets! Hope they compensate with some more interesting motorsport coverage.

21 December 2015
F1 sucks balls big time.

21 December 2015
Well done the BBC!

F1 is farcical and dull as hell. I stopped watching it many years ago

Why should licence payers fund such a crazy sport that only exists to line Bernies pockets? It's an absolute joke these days

21 December 2015
This was the best bit for me, listening to the chat, interviews, opinion etc. And the first three laps. Hope Ch4 do something similar (well, 45 minutes, accounting for adverts) prior to the race.


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