Currently reading: BBC ends Formula One TV contract three years early
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

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.”

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?

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Chris C 21 December 2015


Seems an opportunity to sack Chris Evans and shoehorn Suzi, Eddie and David into the new Top Gear....
Symanski 21 December 2015

Good idea1

Chris C wrote:

Seems an opportunity to sack Chris Evans and shoehorn Suzi, Eddie and David into the new Top Gear....

Top Gear would be worth watching! Fresh talent, and hopefully showcasing the best in motoring, not banger racing as the last lot constantly did. Alas, with Evans already reported to be suffering from an over inflated ego, I won't be watching.

Leslie Brook 21 December 2015


Can't really blame the BBC I think. TV audiences dwindling, crowds at a lot of the circuits practically non-existent, teams struggling financially while Bernie coins it, constant rule changes to save money but which don't.(I'm pretty sure it's cheaper to machine a new engine for every race than to spend thousands of man hours in development time on an engine that will last for 4) I'll be quite happy watching the Aussie V8 Supercars thanks.
Winston Churchill 21 December 2015

Hmmmm. Wonder which is more

Hmmmm. Wonder which is more corrupt? Football or F1? Neither are worth watching as a consequence. What's the point?