British newspapers this week said the BBC has now decided to stop broadcasting F1 with immediate effect due to cost cuts, despite an ongoing contract.
The report said that the BBC, whose coverage has involved well-known F1 personalities including David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan, is set to be replaced from 2016 by ITV.
Bernie Ecclestone is also refusing to confirm that F1’s free-to-air British broadcaster is pulling out of the sport.
But F1 supremo Ecclestone said: “The bottom line is that they (BBC) are cutting back on all types of sport and if we really, really, really had to, we’d say ‘You have got a contract and you better get on with it’.
“They can’t leave the contract early,” he told publications including the Daily Mail.
As for whether ITV can simply take over the BBC’s deal, Ecclestone answered: “To do that we would have to agree to have that done so I don’t know.”
The Telegraph said Ecclestone “is almost certain to demand (from the BBC) a termination fee that could run into millions of pounds”.
The Daily Mail added: “It made no sense in the financial climate for the Beeb to be junior grand prix partners to Sky.”