Ecclestone: 'BBC can't cancel contract early'

Sunday 17th July 2011, 10:56  

Bernie Ecclestone is adamant that Formula 1 won't move to pay-TV in the United Kingdom and many other countries which use the same feed.

With the BBC threatening to axe the show, many broadcasters have shown an interest in picking up the contract. Among those are BSkyB, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

The former, a subscription based service owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, is very unlikely to gain the rights according to Ecclestone.

"It isn't possible that F1 could go on to pay-TV, we wouldn't want to do that," he told the Telegraph.

The latter though, Channel 5, looks to be in pole position with Ecclestone hinting that he'd be straight on the phone to Richard Desmond, owner of Northern and Shell, which owns Channel 5, the Daily Express and OK magazine among other titles.

The F1 mogul also hinted that if the BBC tried to cancel their contract early, it currently runs through to 2013, he would 'probably' sue them.

"Let's wait and see about the BBC because at the moment they want to make a noise," he said, adding, "I can’t see how the BBC could cancel [its contract early]. We could probably sue them."

When asked what he would do if they didn't renew after 2013, he replied: "talk to Richard [Desmond], obviously," but he also made it clear the BBC was the prefered option. "We have got no problem with the Beeb," he added.

Read more on this subject:

Sunday Times claims BBC to axe F1 coverage

Whitmarsh totally against BBC dropping F1

Ecclestone will do his best to keep F1 on BBC

Channel 4 looking to acquire F1 rights in UK

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