Ecclestone to enforce BBC contract regardless of budget cuts

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Amid forced constraints and savings to its sports budget for next year, amounting to around £35 million, the BBC is seeking to amend the terms of its contract with FOM and Bernie Ecclestone.

But Formula 1's supremo appears unwilling to compromise, even as the British broadcaster brandishes the threat of axing its coverage of Grand Prix racing.

FOM conferred exclusivity rights in the UK over F1 to Sky Sports in 2012, but also signed an agreement with the BBC by which it shows half the races live, with the remainder bundled under a highlights package.

Ecclestone is currently unwilling to renegotiate the Beeb's contract which runs until the end of 2018.

"We had a chat with them today," Bernie told the Telegraph.

"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.

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

The 85-year-old did say however that new terms could be negotiated after 2018, with the emphasis on preserving Formula 1's presence on free-to-air television.

"Beyond then, I've no idea," he concluded. "Definitely we want them to carry on. Of course."

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