Channel 4 in driver’s seat as BBC retires from Formula 1 in UK_22.12.2015


Joseph O'Halloran

| 22 December 2015

The BBC has dropped another major sport from its roster, quitting UK terrestrial coverage of Formula One racing only two years into a five-year contract.

The UK’s fourth largest broadcaster channel 4 will now take over the steering wheel for the reminder of the original contract which will run from 2016–2018. Channel 4 plans to broadcast live ten races of the FIA Formula One World Championship per season with highlights of all 21 races.

All of the live coverage and highlights will be broadcast free-to-air and will include qualifying sessions of those races for which UK rights co-owner Sky Sports F1 is designated to show. All of the live coverage and highlights will be broadcast free-to-air and in high definition.

Commenting on the announcement, Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of the Formula One group 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 1 events without commercial intervals during the race...I am confident that 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 1 have moved on.”

Added Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham: “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 keep the sport on free-to-air television.”

Full details of the 2016 races broadcast live by Channel 4 will be agreed in early-2016. Further details of Channel 4’s production and presenting teams will also be announced in due course.