BBC ‘unwise’ to consider F1 axe – Whitmarsh image

( It would be “sad” and “unwise” if reports the BBC is considering dropping its live coverage of formula one in Britain are true.

That is the claim of McLaren and FOTA chief Martin Whitmarsh, following the Sunday Times article about the broadcaster axing F1 after 2013 in order to save money.

He said he and other “insiders” were surprised about the report that contains “significant inaccuracies” about the sport’s television viewing figures.

Meanwhile, media analysis of the Sunday Times article has pointed out that the newspaper is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, who has been reportedly interested in getting involved in F1, perhaps with his pay television network Sky.

Another possibility is that the BBC is kicking off negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone about reducing the value of its contract.

“One thing is clear,” wrote correspondent Tom Cary in the Telegraph, “the BBC will never pay as much as it did last time.”

Cary said he believes negotiations have begun amid the backdrop of Fuji (Japan) and Rai (Italy) managing successfully to renew their deals at lower rates.

Said Whitmarsh: “I think it would be very sad, and most unwise, if the BBC were to disappoint so many millions of British sports fans by axing it (F1), and that’s why I don’t believe for a moment that they’d seriously consider doing such a thing.”