The BBC has been forced to defend its decision to switch its live coverage of Sunday's inaugural Korean Grand Prix from BBC One to BBC Two midway through due to the race overrunning its scheduled time slot - prompting almost 300 complaints from viewers, it has emerged.

The Beeb had initially allocated a slot from 6am to 9:15am for its broadcasting of the race, but due to torrential rain significantly delaying the start, it meant that there were still a number of laps to run when 9:15am arrived. That had the knock-on effect of similarly delaying The Andrew Marr Show that followed, which eventually began at 9:30am as a result, after F1 was moved onto BBC Two for another hour.

However, given that a number of fans - dissuaded by Korea's early UK start-time - had set their video-recorders for the grand prix, 273 of them subsequently complained to the corporation, disgruntled that the unexpected channel-change meant they had been deprived of the climax of the race.

"Sunday's Korean Grand Prix was delayed due to extreme weather," a BBC spokesman told British newspaper The Guardian, reasoning that the delay was beyond the company's control. "The subsequent disruption to the schedule was flagged-up to the audience throughout via the commentary, and was also made clear again just prior to switching the coverage to BBC Two.

"The race was re-run in full on BBC One at 2pm, and was available on-demand via BBC iPlayer. There was also an hour-long highlights show transmitted at 7pm on BBC Three. The BBC is committed to showing all 19 grands prix live, and as our flagship channel, BBC One is the natural home for F1.

"However, the BBC also has a responsibility to reflect a wide range of interests, and therefore the decision was taken to switch the F1 coverage to BBC Two until its conclusion."

In happier news for Auntie, however, figures show that the initial BBC One coverage from 6am to 9:30am attracted some 1.328 million viewers, with 1.595 million tuning into the subsequent BBC Two coverage from 9:30am to 10:30am.