BBC shocked motorsports fans today by announcing that it would be terminating their agreement to show Formula 1 three years early. The Corporation needs to make £35m of savings from their sports budget, which has led to F1 coverage being culled immediately by Director of Sport, Barbara Slater.
But the BBC’s loss has been Channel 4’s gain. The station swooped to pick up the rights and become the new home of F1 on free-to-air television. The deal is set to last three years and Channel 4 will broadcast 10 races live, including practice and qualifying sessions.
Crucially, the broadcaster has promised that the live races will be advert free and shown in HD. Channel 4 will also offer highlights of the remaining qualifying sessions and races.
The Chief Executive of Channel 4, 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 [Formula 1 rights holder] to keep the sport on free-to-air television.”
It is understood that Channel 4 will announce a race schedule early in the new year, along with details of the presenting teams.