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Brit Will Stevens loses Formula One drive

British driver Will Stevens has been dropped by Manor for the upcoming Formula One season.

Stevens, whose grand prix career ran for a little more than one season, will be replaced by Indonesian rookie Rio Haryanto, the British-based team confirmed on Thursday.

Stevens faces up to at least a year in the Formula One wilderness. Credit: PA

Haryanto, heavily backed by Indonesian state-owned oil company Pertamina, joins team-mate Pascal Wehrlein as the final driver on the grid for the new campaign which gets under way in Melbourne next month.

"We are delighted to announce Rio as our second race driver for 2016, " said Manor's British billionaire owner Stephen Fitzpatrick. "Rio's been racing since he first got into a kart at six years old.

"He's tenacious on and off the track and made a big impression on last year's GP2 battle. Rio's huge following in Indonesia is great for the team and for F1.

"They are keen to see him on the grid and we're confident that we'll see him enjoying some exciting battles in the year ahead."

Stevens, 24, had been optimistic that he would be retained by Manor, but the Englishman, who recorded a best finish of 13th at the British Grand Prix, and his former team-mate Alexander Rossi, are now facing up to at least a year in the Formula One wilderness.

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Channel 4 chief executive 'delighted' with F1 deal

David Abraham is overjoyed to get 'one of the world's biggest sporting events' Credit: PA

The chief executive of Channel 4 has spoken of his delight after striking a deal to show live Formula 1 racing.

David Abraham said:

Formula 1 is one of the world's biggest sporting events with huge appeal to British audiences.

I'm delighted to have agreed this exciting new partnership with Bernie Ecclestone to keep the sport on free-to-air television.

– Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham

BBC chief describes 'tough' and 'unwanted' F1 decision

Slater admits the decision was 'tough' and 'unwanted'. Credit: PA

The BBC's director of sport, Barbara Slater, says the decision to end their live Formula 1 contract prematurely was "tough" and "unwanted".

Channel 4 will take over the terrestrial rights from the BBC after it revealed it had signed a three-year deal.

The move comes as a result of a £35m cut to the BBC's sports rights budget, and Slater explained:

The current financial position of the BBC means some tough and unwanted choices have to be made. A significant chunk of BBC Sport's savings target will be delivered through the immediate termination of our TV rights agreement for Formula One.

Any decision to have to stop broadcasting a particular sport or sporting event is hugely disappointing and taken reluctantly. There are no easy solutions; all of the options available would be unpopular with audiences.

– BBC Director of Sport Barbara Slater,

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Channel 4 agree three-year deal to show live Formula 1

Formula 1 will continue to be shown on free-to-air TV by Channel 4. Credit: PA

The BBC has announced that it has "reluctantly" ended its Formula One contract three years early.

The corporation regained the exclusive broadcasting rights to grand prix racing in 2009 before agreeing a seven-year deal to share the rights with Sky Sports in 2012.

But the BBC, which has announced a £35million cut in its sports rights budget, said on Monday it has withdrawn from its deal prematurely.

Channel Four will take over the terrestrial rights from the BBC after it revealed it had signed a three-year deal.

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