The director general described the “fracas” between Clarkson and producer Oisin Tymon as “serious” and said “the most important thing in anything like this is to gather the facts.”
Speaking after an appearance at the European Scrutiny Committee Lord Hall said: “We have got an investigation going on… We do not have the facts at the moment.
“I am a fan of Jeremy Clarkson but this is a serious thing that is alleged to have taken place.”
Clarkson is alleged to have punched Tymon during a row over the lack of hot food after a day’s filming.
The star had reportedly been unhappy at being unable to order a steak at Simonstone Hall Hotel near Hawes, North Yorkshire, where the crew were staying after filming. The Sun and Mirror reported the hotel's chef had gone home by the time they arrived and the stars were offered cold meat platters, although the presenter requested a £21.95 steak.
Jeremy Clarkson's Top 25 Most Obnoxious Lines
Jeremy Clarkson's Top 25 Most Obnoxious Lines
1/24 "Short people. When you've finished using a car, put the f**king seat back, so humans can use it afterwards," he posted on Twitter. Offensively.
2/24 "Honestly, the burka doesn’t work. I was in a cab in Piccadilly the other day when a woman in a full burka crossing the road in front of me tripped over the pavement, went head over heels and up it came, red G-string and stockings."
3/24 Driving a Jaguar round a toilet in India: "This is perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots."
4/24 "The only person who looked good in a 4-seated convertible was Adolf Hitler."
5/24 As a Thai man walked over a bridge he had built during a Top Gear challenge: "That is a proud moment - but there’s a slope on it."
Jeremy Clarkson is involved in further controversy over a second set of number plates found in the vehicle he was driving in Argentina
6/24 On the Renault Clio V6 handling bends: "In typical French fashion it just gives up! A bit like the French did with the Germans."
7/24 "I'm thinking. If you had gone to the trouble of making a chemical bomb, why would you detonate it on a coach from Preston?"
8/24 On public sector workers in 2011: “I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.”
9/24 "I don't understand bus lanes. Why do poor people have to get to places quicker than I do?"
10/24 "The only reason the Arabs and Jews have managed to keep their nasty little war going for 50 years is because it never bloody rains there. If the post-war powers had put Israel in Manchester, there'd have been no bloodshed."
11/24 "If all the creatures on earth were the same size, it's said a lobster would have the smallest brain. But then someone invented Wayne Rooney."
12/24 On the invention of the segway: "They're made in America, of course, so fat Yanks can go to the fridge without expending any energy."
13/24 "Supercars are supposed to run over Arthur Scargill and then run over him again for good measure. They are designed to melt ice caps, kill the poor, poison the water table, destroy the ozone layer, decimate indigenous wildlife, recapture the Falkland Islands and turn the entire third world into a huge uninhabitable desert, all that before they nicked all the oil in the world."
14/24 "I’m sorry, but having an Aston Martin DB9 on the drive and not driving it is a bit like having Keira Knightley in your bed and sleeping on the couch. If you’ve got even half a scrotum it’s not going to happen."
15/24 On a caravaning holiday: “You aren’t allowed to have a party, you aren’t allowed to have music, you aren’t allowed to play ball games, you aren’t allowed to have a camp fire, you have to park within two feet of a post, you have to keep quiet, you have to be in bed by eleven. This is not a holiday, it’s a concentration camp!”
16/24 "Britain’s nuclear submarines have been deemed unsafe… probably because they don’t have wheel-chair access."
17/24 “If we are being honest HIV is a pathetic virus, it can only live in the air for 6 seconds and it does what ebola does to you in 10 days in 10 years.”
18/24 On the Lotus Elise: “This car is more fun than the entire french air force crashing into a firework factory.”
19/24 On actress Sarah Jessica Parker: “People think ‘oh she must be pretty’. She isn’t – she looks like a boiled horse."
20/24 On the BMW Z3: "And if you are clinically insane, by which I mean you wake up in the morning and think you are an onion, here’s your car."
21/24 On the Ferrari 430 Scuderia: “It’s like God having really unusual sex… it should come with toilet roll.”
22/24 "The problem is that television executives have got it into their heads that if one presenter on a show is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed heterosexual boy, the other must be a black Muslim lesbian."
23/24 "If you're thinking of coming to America, this is what it's like: you've got your Comfort Inn, you've got your Best Western, and you've got your Red Lobster where you eat. Everybody's very fat, everybody's very stupid and everybody's very rude - it's not a holiday programme, it's the truth."
24/24 On the N-word row: "I’ve been told by the BBC that if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked."
A screengrab from Jeremy Clarkson's video apology
Clarkson reportedly blamed Mr Tymon for not arranging hot food and described the incident as a “scuffle”. The hotel's general manager then cooked the meal for the star, sources claimed.
The TV personality denies throwing a punch but is understood to have told friends that that there had been some “handbags and pushing” over the incident.
Clarkson remains suspended from the BBC while an investigation is carried out. The final three episodes of this series have been postponed indefinitely.
A lawyer for Tymon said his client “intends to await the outcome of the BBC investigation and will make no comment until that investigation is complete”.
However, there has been a public outcry over the incident with “Bring back Jeremy Clarkson” trending on Twitter and a petition to reinstate him today surpassing 650,000 signatures.
The Prime Minister David Cameron – who is a friend of Clarkson’s and lives in his Witney constituency in Oxfordshire - has also given the presenter his backing.
Mr Cameron told BBC Midlands Today: “I don't know exactly what happened. He is a constituent of mine, he is a friend of mine, he is a huge talent.
“I see that he said he regrets some of what happened. All I would say - because he is a talent and he does amuse and entertain so many people, including my children who'll be heartbroken if Top Gear is taken off air - I hope this can be sorted out because it is a great programme and he is a great talent.”
Asked if the BBC was wrong to suspend him, Mr Cameron said: “I don't know what happened. Every organisation has to be able to be free to manage its talent and to say to people, 'you can do this', or 'you can't do that', so I don't want to interfere in the running of the BBC.”
He added: “The Prime Minister has many responsibilities, sadly securing the future of Top Gear isn't one of them.”
Former culture secretary Maria Miller described Clarkson as a “legend” and insisted the BBC had to improve the way it dealt with “larger than life characters”.
“I think they need to sort this mess out quickly, and not be seen to be punishing the fans,” she told BBC Radio 4's World at One.
“It's a fantastic show and I really think the BBC has got an obligation to get this sorted.
”The BBC needs to be better at managing its talent - there are other organisations that have to deal with larger-than-life characters.
Yesterday Clarkson appeared to make light of the situation, telling reporters outside his London home that he was “just off to the job centre”.
Asked if his suspension was over a row about food he said “no, no, no” but said “yes” when asked if he had any regrets about what had happened.
There have been intimations that even if Clarkson is cleared of the charges he will leave Top Gear.
His relationship with key BBC executives has sunk so low that he is unsure it can be salvaged, a source close to the presenter told RadioTimes.com.
The Mirror quoted Clarkson, when asked if he was concerned about losing his position at the BBC, as saying: “Well it's coming, isn't it? Honestly, it's very soon. Let's just let sleeping dogs lie for the moment.”
It is unclear if Top Gear –a serious global success for the BBC, which could cost the corporation millions in payouts if scrapped – can survive this incident, with or without Clarkson.
Clarkson could walk away from the show when his contract runs out at the end of the month.
All three of the show's hosts were understood to be days away from signing new contracts that would have kept them at the wheel of the show for another three years when Clarkson was suspended.
The BBC owns the rights to the Top Gear brand, which is valued at £50 million, and includes the show, DVD rights and live shows, raising the prospect of Top Gear continuing on the BBC while Clarkson takes a similar show to one of its rivals.
With additional reporting from the Press Association.