Date: 21st June 2011 at 12:14pm
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McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh hopes that Formula One will remain on the BBC for the foreseeable future.

The BBC’s current broadcasting deal runs until the end of the 2013 season, after Formula One and the BBC agreed an initial five-year deal following the sport being broadcast by ITV.

Whitmarsh believes that F1 should remain on free-to-air television and his preference would be for it to remain on the BBC.

‘It’s crucial to the commercial model of Formula 1 that TV coverage should remain free-to-air, and therefore universally accessible, and therefore widely consumed and enjoyed by large numbers of viewers – and the BBC delivers that in the UK,’ McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told Autosport Magazine.

However a report in The Sunday Times over the weekend suggested that the BBC had no plans to renew the contract.

The Corporation is currently going through some cut-backs and is always analysing the best way to spend their budget and the report suggested that the BBC may have decided that the money spent on Formula One would be put to better use elsewhere.

Regarding that report, Whitmarsh added: ‘Formula 1 is the pinnacle of world motorsport – always has been, always will be. As such, it’s appropriate that the BBC should continue to cover it.

‘I think it would be very sad, and most unwise, if the BBC were to disappoint so many millions of British sports fans by axeing it, and that’s why I don’t believe for a moment that they’d seriously consider doing such a thing.’


Viewing figures for the BBC recently showed that Formula One races are becoming evermore popular with the recent Monaco Grand Prix peaking at 6.1 million viewers in the UK, the highest figure F1 has had in the past decade.

 

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