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BBC could lose Formula 1

Live Formula 1 races could disappear complete from the BBC after the public broadcaster was told it needs to reduce costs drastically.

The corporation has been told to cut £35m from its sport budget and F1, snooker and darts are in the firing line.

Having regained the F1 broadcasting rights from ITV in 2009, the BBC was then forced to agree to a sharing agreement with Sky Sports until 2018 in an attempt to save costs.

Under the deal the public broadcaster only shows half the grands prix live while the pay-per-view channel screens all the races.

But the BBC has been told to make further cuts and Formula 1 could be one of the sports to lose out, like the Open Championship did a few years ago.

“Meeting this savings target will be tough, particularly given the high levels of inflation in the market,” said the corporation’s sports chief Barbara Slater. “We therefore anticipate this will lead to the loss of some existing rights and events.

“We have already made some tough choices which have contributed to the savings, for instance around the Open golf,” she added.

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has also admitted that the corporation wanted to renegotiate its current its contract, but the Formula One Management is not really interested.

“We had a chat with them today. What they would like to do is not spend as much money. They want to know if they can schedule it different ways or pay a bit less now,” he told Telegraph Sport.

“They don’t have a lot of choice because they’ve got a contract with us. They’re there for another three years.”

He added: “Beyond then, I’ve no idea. I don’t know what’s going to happening tomorrow morning. I can’t tell you what I’m going to do in two years’ time. Definitely, we want them to carry on. Of course.”

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