To be straight forward the BBC provide the best Formula One coverage, always have and always will and that’s with the limited coverage they were able to broadcast since 2012. So the news that the BBC has decided to end its F1 TV contract three years early is probably the shock of the 2015 season, well in the UK at least.
The BBC will continue to provide F1 coverage through its 5 Live radio station and has extended it’s race commentary until the 2051 season. The writing was on the wall a few years back after the BBC decided it couldn’t afford to cover all of the races.
A decision was made to broadcast 10 live races per year and provide terrestrial viewers with extensive highlights of the other nine races. The BBC is funded by the government, when the Conservative Party was elected into power the party was emboldened to unleash cutbacks and a spending freeze.
The Conservatives political mantra of reducing debt by cutting back on public services effectively politically skewered the BBC into making savings and Formula One has been in the firing line for some time.
The BBC’s Director of Sport, Barbara Slater said: “A significant chunk of BBC Sport’s savings target will be delivered through the immediate termination of our TV rights agreement for Formula 1,”
Channel 4 has stepped in to take over the coverage of Formula One effectively taking over the remainder of the BBC’s contract.
Channel 4 is a commercial free-to-air TV station that ironically is part state funded the double irony is that Channel 4 will broadcast all live races without any advertising breaks.
Bernie Ecclestone said: “I am sorry the BBC could not comply with their contract. But I am happy we now have a broadcaster that can broadcast Formula 1 events without commercial intervals during the race.”
Channel 4 has yet to fill in any details about its commentary team.