Only days after the BBC revealed more news about its planned coverage for the 2009 Formula One season, the corporation's head of Formula One has elected to quit his post.

Niall Sloane, who also held the role of head of football, had been tipped to secure the role of head of sport before the BBC revealed the position had gone to Barbara Slater - with the head of sport production being referred to as the 'outstanding candidate for the job' by BBC North director Peter Salmon.

Sloane had been with the BBC since 1982 and took on the role of head of football in 2000 after a stint as editor of Match of the Day.

Having also been put in control of F1, Sloane was believed to be one of the front-runners to secure the head of sport role before being overlooked.

Sloane is now being tipped to move to ITV to take on the vacant role as controller of sport.

"He is leaving to take on new challenges," a BBC spokesman revealed to the Guardian. "He is very happy Barbara got the job and wishes her all the best for the future."

Sloane will remain with the BBC for the first two races of the season before handing responsibility for the F1 coverage to Ben Gallop - currently head of BBC interactive.

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