Speculation the BBC is considering axing Formula 1 has intensified over the weekend again.

It follows fresh reports in The Sunday Times that the UK broadcast will not renew its current deal at the end of 2013.

In a front page article - under the headline: 'BBC axes Formula One' - the 'paper quotes 'senior sources' as saying the corporation could save ?60 million a year if it drops the sport - something that could allow it to save one of its digital channels, such as BBC4.

"The proposal to dump F1 will be among a package of measures to be put to the BBC Trust in the early autumn," the report claims.

It also added: "It has emerged that F1 costs ?1 a head for every viewer, compared with the average 7p an hour broadcast cost for BBC1 and BBC2.

"Apart from the British Grand Prix, most races attract only between 2m and 4m viewers."

It should be noted the story, written interestingly by the Arts Editor, adds little to what was published on Crash.net back in March [see separate story - click here]. Also The Sunday Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which expressed an interest in buying the sports commercial rights only a few months ago [see separate story - click here].

BBC F1 anchorman Jake Humphrey meanwhile has Tweeted that the story includes a number of inaccuracies: "Lots of 'Sunday Times' questions. SO MANY inaccuracies in that article. F1 does incredible business on the BBC - it's spiritual home!

"I've no inside info on it's future... but I know little else gets the audience share and the millions that we do.

"The papers/my followers are welcome to report this... the past 3 F1 races have each had viewing figures at a 10 year high. 6m+ in Monaco, 8m+ in Canada, getting 4m+ for qualifying! People love F1 on the BBC."

BBC F1 reporter Lee McKenzie echoed those views and Tweeted: "Sunday Times claims BBC is to axe F1. The inaccuracies in the article hint that the journalist knows as much as the rest of us! Not much!"

A spokesperson for the BBC told the Daily Mail no decision has been made: "This is speculation. We are not going to get drawn into a running commentary - no decisions have been taken and therefore these claims remain speculation.

"Any decisions coming out of the process would be subject to approval by the BBC Trust," he added.


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