With the BBC being forced to cut the corners off it’s corners, it’s not really any great surprise that it wanted out of it’s F1 contract early. With the rights up for grabs, that gave Channel 4 the opportunity to zoom by and take it (in exchange for about £90 million).
Channel 4 managed to pip ITV to pole position thanks to some expert cornering, and by promising not to show ads in the middle of live races… Seriously ITV, if you couldn’t make that promise, it really is a good job you didn’t win it… Along with airing 10 races live, C4 will also show hi-lights from all 21 Grands Prix and qualifying. The 11 races which aren’t live on C4 will air live on Sky.
Whilst it’s sad to see the BBC having to drop big sports events like this, it would seem there is still an appetite from the folk at F1 to keep at least some of the sport on free-to-air channels. Channel 4 chief exec David Abraham commented “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 to keep the sport on free-to-air television.”
Channel 4 will start airing Formula One from 2016.