Only half of Formula 1 Grands Prix will be shown on free-to-air television in the United Kingdom from next season under a new rights deal involving both BBC and Sky Sports.
Under the new deal, Sky Sports will show every practice session, qualifying and race live. BBC meanwhile will only show half of the races live, together with all the sessions from those tracks. BBC will have highlights of all the races it does not show, and BBC Radio 5 Live will continue to broadcast from every race. The British Grand Prix, the Monaco Grand Prix and the final race of the season are amongst those that will continue to be shown by the BBC.
The new deal runs from 2012 until 2018. The BBC’s existing deal was due to run until the end of 2013, but had been under pressure to cut costs.
“This is fantastic news for F1 fans and Sky Sports will be the only place to follow every race live and in HD,” said Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis. “We will give F1 the full Sky Sports treatment with a commitment to each race never seen before on UK television.”
BBC Sport director Barbara Slater said: “We are absolutely delighted that F1 will remain on the BBC. The sport has never been more popular with TV audiences at a 10-year high and the BBC has always stated its commitment to the big national sporting moments.
“With this new deal not only have we delivered significant savings but we have also ensured that through our live and extended highlights coverage all the action continues to be available to licence-fee payers.”