Ecclestone: No ad breaks key to Channel 4 F1 deal

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Bernie Ecclestone says it was important to him F1 was broadcast free-to-air in the UK without ad breaks after Channel 4 took over from the BBC.

The BBC announced on Monday morning it would be terminating its contract to broadcast F1 with immediate effect as part of a drive to save £35million per year. While sad to see the BBC go, Ecclestone hinted the switch to Channel 4 over ITV was due to a promise not to show adverts during the race.

“I am sorry that the BBC could not comply with their contract but I am happy that we now have a broadcaster that can broadcast Formula 1 events without commercial intervals during the race," Ecclestone said.

“I am confident that Channel 4 will achieve not only how the BBC carried out the broadcast in the past but also with a new approach as the world and Formula 1 have moved on.”

Channel 4 will show ten of the 21 races next season live, while also committing to live coverage of practice and qualifying. The remaining races will be covered in a highlights show.

“Formula One is one of the world’s biggest sporting events with huge appeal to British audiences," said David Abraham, Channel 4 chief executive. "I’m delighted to have agreed this exciting new partnership with Bernie Ecclestone to keep the sport on free-to-air television.”

Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt added: “Channel 4 and Formula One are the perfect partnership. We've the same appetite for innovation and we'll be demonstrating that to fans by becoming the first free-to-air commercial broadcaster to show the races ad free.”

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