UK F1 coverage to switch to ITV as BBC backs out

Terrestrial coverage of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in the United Kingdom looks set to move to ITV after it is believed that the BBC will walk away from the seven-year broadcasting deal that is currently running.

TV industry publication Broadcast say that sources have indicated that it could save the BBC up to £60m per year, but will also have to pay an early termination fee to F1 rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone.

“The BBC is slashing costs,” said one source with knowledge of the deal. “Now it has started talking about cutting channels it is difficult for it to justify spending so much on sports rights and production.”

Earlier this month BBC terminated their live coverage of The Open golf championship 12-months early, citing financial constraints, so the latest developments would come as no surprise.

ITV ended their previous deal for F1 in 2009 when it was unable to justify airing both F1 and Champions League football.

While both BBC and ITV have yet to make any official announcements it is believed that should ITV pick up the coverage, the format would remain the same, with some races being shown live and the remaining races put in to a highlight package.