BBC loses half of its F1 coverage to Sky Sports


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The Independent Online

The BBC is to scale back its coverage of Formula One next season after reaching a deal with Sky Sports to share coverage of the competition.

The move follows speculation that the corporation would pull out of the motorsport altogether for financial reasons, and is expected to save it around £25m a year.

Under the new deal, the BBC will only broadcast half of the races and qualifying sessions live – including the British and Monaco Grands Prix – and cover others through highlights programmes.

The deal, running from 2012 until 2018, will see Sky double-up on races shown by the BBC and screen others exclusively. BBC Radio Five Live's coverage remains unchanged.

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, defended the deal, saying that without it the channel might have lost Formula One altogether.

"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."