The BBC is facing some financial difficulties, and its Formula One coverage could end up being one of the victims, as reports from the UK suggest that the government-owned network could be forced to drop the premier racing series from its schedule.

Unlike private networks, which are free to raise capital from advertisements or pretty much any other initiative they can think of, the British Broadcasting Corporation gets its operating budget from British taxpayers – specifically, a fee which the government collects from its viewers. The government having reportedly frozen the licensing fee amount at its current level for several more years, the BBC may have to cut its budget by as much as 20 percent over the coming few years.

The public broadcasting company only re-acquired the license from Bernie Ecclestone and his Formula One Management in 2009, and its contract is up for renewal in 2013. If the reports prove accurate, the BBC could opt to pass on renewing its costly contract. Coverage of the Wimbledon tennis tournament could also be on the butcher's block, although (thankfully) no mention was made of potential cuts to Top Gear, which remains a big cash cow for the Beeb.

For its part, the BBC has refused to comment on the reports, however, media pundits in the motorsport press were quick to point out that The Sunday Times which ran the story is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation – the same outfit that's been widely reported to be trying to get its hands on F1's commercial rights.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      'Lies spread by my competitors' Rupert Mudoch (the all evil SOAB) has been trying to get his mitts into F1 for a while now - and what better way to attempt to spin things up that to start writing BS stories naming 'senior sources' in his many BS 'news' papers! OK I admit, I don't like the guy! The BBC have done an absolutely fantastic, A1 knock-out job with the coverage of F1. They even stuck with a 5 1/2 hour live feed from Canada without 1 break away! The F1 Forum is hilarious and the drivers & teams seem to respect and like the coverage very much. Bernie also loves the BBC coverage. (which I'm not sure counts for much these days since Bernie seems to be self destructing at the moment; Bahrain). The BBC iPlayer coverage is also excellent and very convenient. If News International or whatever nasty pay for view Sky Sports gets this sport - that will be the end of F1 for me. There is not a snowballs chance in hell that I would contribute 1 penny to RM. We currently have Free To Air viewing (ok - I have a TV Licence) and absolutely no adverts...ever. So what part of being forced to pay to watch a race AND be subjected to TONS of cr@p adverts, is supposed to be better for me, the viewer? F1 should STAY on the BBC!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hopefully this is just a crazy rumor. As anyone in the UK would probably agree, every aspect of the BBC's F1 coverage is far superior to rival channels
      • 3 Years Ago
      I know that guy in the picture must be cool because he's wearing Pumas. Don't all cool people wear those?
        • 3 Years Ago
        nope... i'm über-cool (i don't even have a fridge) yet i don't wear these
      • 3 Years Ago
      F1 and Top Gear are my two main reasons for watching BBC, and although F1 could theoretically be covered by a number of networks, it should stay on the BBC without a doubt. It's a HUGE market, is it seriously losing them money? Drop a garden show or two.
      • 3 Years Ago
      BBC's F1 coverage is the best ever! I used to watch it on the dutch RTL network but after watching a BBC coverage I never looked back.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've only seen this reported in the times followed by the sun. Guess who owns that one too... Both Bernie and Martin Whitmarsh want it to stay on BBC. Sky tried once a few years back with a dedicated f1 channel. But at £12 a race, no thanks!
      Fly, monkeys! Fly!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would hate to see it on Sky Sports, even though I'm a Sky Sports subscriber. Unless they can get the beeb gang to come along with them.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Noooo...Must...have...DC...and...Eddie Jordan! Eddie Jordan's shirts provide enough entertainment value just by themselves. Martin Brundle does get on my nerves sometimes, as he does have a propensity for continually misidentifying cars, drivers, and position changes. But he's excitable and clearly has a passion for the sport. I do like SPEED's coverage as well, but given a choice, I always opt for the Beeb.
      • 3 Years Ago
      F1 hasn't been fun to watch for some time now.
      • 3 Years Ago
      We get the BBC coverage here in Canada, I have no choice to watch it because of Speed TV's coveage is blacked out here. Believe it or not, I'd much rather watch Speed's take on F1, they really do a good job.
      • 3 Years Ago
      They will never cut funding to top gear, because they cant, it literally funds its self. The franchise makes so much money with international syndication etc, that it pays for itself with enough money left over for the BBC to invest in other shows.
        • 3 Years Ago
        They cut finding to Top Gear a few years back.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If the BBC is really hurting for funds, ditching the boring tennis crap should be a no-brainer. F1 on the other hand I dont know.
    • Load More Comments