Bernie Ecclestone has issued a stern warning to the BBC about their Formula 1 deal, saying “they can’t leave the contract early”.
After being told to cut £35m from its sport budget, it was reported that live F1 coverage could disappear from the BBC as the public broadcaster was looking to end its three-year deal early.
More reports have emerged stating that ITV is set to take over their contract to screen half of the races live every year.
F1 commercial rights Ecclestone, though, has cautioned the broadcaster about terminating the deal before the contract ends in 2018.
“The bottom line is that they 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 Press Association Sport.
“The Beeb have always done a very, very good job. I have no problem at all with them. It is just they can’t afford to continue with what they have done in the past.”
Asked if ITV could take over from 2016, Ecclestone replied: “To do that we would have to agree to have that done so I don’t know.
“We like the BBC for obvious reasons. It was free-to-air and they did a good job as I say with all the support they gave at the circuit. At the moment I don’t know what we are going to do.”