Bernie Ecclestone says the BBC cannot end its contract to broadcast F1 early.

On Friday, it was reported that ITV is expected to take over the Formula 1 free-to-air coverage in the United Kingdom next year due to cost-cutting measures being implemented by the corporation.

However, Ecclestone is adamant there is no get-out clause.

"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," Ecclestone told the Press Association.

"The Beeb have always done a very, very good job. I have no problem at all with them."

The BBC returned to broadcasting F1 in 2009 after a 12-year gap when ITV held exclusive rights to the series and was the sole UK broadcaster for three years until Sky Sports stepped in.

Under the current deal - thought to cost the corporation around ?20 million per year - it shows roughly half of the races live, and highlights of the others.

Asked if it was possible ITV could take over from 2016, Ecclestone added: "To do that we would have to agree to have that done so I don't know.

"We like the BBC for obvious reasons.

"At the moment I don't know what we are going to do."

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