Channel 4 snaps up Formula One after BBC drops contract

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Lewis Hamilton

British Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton

Channel 4 has signed a three-year deal with Formula One after the BBC prematurely dropped its contract with the sport three years early due to financial woes.

Channel 4 has snapped up Formula One as part of a three-year deal after the BBC decided to dump the sport.

The broadcasting channel will take on the sport from next season and has vowed to show 10 races a year with advert-free coverage as well as highlights of all 21 Grands Prix.

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone said: "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 One events without commercial intervals during the race.

"I am confident 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 One have moved on."

Channel 4 - which has shared rights with Sky Sports - has announced it will also show live practice and qualifying sessions from the races of all 21 Grands Prix.

The BBC released a statement shortly afterwards stating it was "regrettably" dropping Formula One from its portfolio of sports three years prior to the end of its contract due to financial difficulties within the corporation.

Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater said: "The BBC is announcing that a significant chunk of BBC Sport's remaining 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."

But the corporation's money woes won't end there as it's thought Ecclestone, who revealed last month he had refused a plea from the broadcasting channel to renegotiate its contract, will no doubt demand a hefty termination fee.


1. Grahame22 Dec 2015, 12:07am Report

F1 was a disaster with ITV, let's hope CH4 do better but I guess it very much depends on which races they show live, and to an even greater extent their commentators; too often there are two presenters who talk to each other and the viewer / listener is nothing more than an eavesdropper, they don't talk to us, only to each other. It's a huge turn off.

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