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BBC back on the F1 starting grid

Roger Mosey | 07:10 UK time, Thursday, 20 March 2008

There are people in BBC Sport who still remember the day in 1996 when the BBC lost Formula One. It was a Wednesday. It was just before the office Christmas lunch, and understandably that wasn't a cheerful occasion.

So today we're all thrilled and excited to be welcoming back Formula One to our airwaves from next season. It's one of the world's biggest sport events, and we'll be showcasing it on the BBC across TV, radio and online. It'll be uninterrupted, so every twist, turn and chicane will be live.

It's only in the past few days that we secured the contract, so our coverage plans are still in development. But we already have some ideas buzzing around about how we can make F1 even bigger and better than it is now - and we're really looking forward to watching Lewis Hamilton achieve even more success.

This is all funded from the overall BBC sports rights budget that was agreed last year, and we seek as ever to provide the best possible mix of events: the landmarks like the Olympics and the World Cup, regulars like Match Of The Day, a range of minority sports - and then "crown jewel" events such as the Six Nations, Wimbledon and now Formula One.

They represent a two-fold commitment: first, to serve the widest possible range of the audiences who pay for the BBC - of which sport lovers are an important part. And second, to make major sporting events even more central to our national life.

We'll be keeping you in touch here as our plans unfold - and you can, of course, already listen to BBC F1 coverage on Radio 5 Live and keep up with the latest news on this website. Just expect the BBC service to move into overdrive this time next year when the new contract begins.

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