Channel 4 has entered the frame to replace the BBC and cover F1 when the Corporations deal expires at the end of 2013, it has been reported.

According to The Evening Standard Channel 4 has 'opened preliminary talks' with a view to step in should the BBC opt not to renew its current five-year agreement with F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone.

The 'paper claims C4 bosses 'see F1 as a target because the upscale, young male demographic is attractive to advertisers': "There's a perception that Channel 4 isn't interested in sports but they've got the Paralympics next year and the IAAF athletics," a source said in the report.

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Speculation about whether or not the BBC will continue to show the sport intensified again last month, with the The Sunday Times running a front-page article, under the headline: 'BBC axes Formula One' [see separate story - click here]. However that story was heavily criticised and a spokesperson for the BBC dismissed it as 'speculation'.