Bernie Ecclestone hopes BBC agrees new Formula 1 UK TV deal

Bernie Ecclestone is hoping the BBC does not walk away from Formula 1 once the corporation's contract expires at the end of 2018

Bernie Ecclestone hopes BBC agrees new Formula 1 UK TV deal

F1 commercial rights holder Ecclestone on Friday confirmed German free-to-air broadcaster RTL had signed a new two-year extension to its deal to cover F1 for 2016 and '17.

Although there has been a swing from Ecclestone in recent times towards pay-per-view broadcast deals, the 84-year-old still recognises the value of free-to-air providers such as RTL and the BBC.

Ecclestone is therefore eager for the BBC to remain on board, in tandem with Sky Sports, from 2019 and beyond.

Under the current agreement with Sky, the BBC is allowed to screen half of a season's races live, and the remainder via a highlights package.

Asked whether he was anxious to keep free to air UK coverage with the BBC, Ecclestone replied: "Absolutely. I hope they continue."

Whether the BBC could afford to continue coverage remains to be seen, but Ecclestone added: "We're not interested in the money.

"We're interested in entertaining the public and doing a service. That's what we are there for.

"The continuation of the Sky/BBC deal would be good.

"It works at the moment so there is no reason why we should change.

"Sky has done a super job. They have lifted the level, and they have lifted the BBC."

As to whether there is potential interest in F1 from BT Sport, which has started to rival Sky when it comes to the acquistion of prime-time sports and events, Ecclestone said: "Let's see.

"They've not been in to see me, but then even if they had I wouldn't tell you."

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Monza's hopes of new Italian Grand Prix F1 deal fading - Ecclestone

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