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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But the BBC, which has announced a £35million cut in its sports rights budget, said on Monday it has withdrawn from its deal prematurely.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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Button signs up for Race of Champions in London

McLaren's Jenson Button has become the latest Formula One driver to sign up to Race of Champions in London later this month.

Button, the 2009 world champion, joins four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo at the event which will be staged at London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on November 20-21.

The 35-year-old will compete in the main event and partner endurance sportscar racer Alex Buncombe to represent Great Britain in the Nations Cup.

Button will race in London. Credit: PA

"I can't wait to be back at the Race of Champions again - and especially to be racing at home at London's former Olympic Stadium," said Button, who rued a "painful" Mexican Grand Prix after he crossed the line in 14th on Sunday.

"It is always a very special event with a good atmosphere. You're racing against guys from your own series, plus others from all over the world.

"It's always a lot of fun, but everyone wants to put on a good show for the fans - and of course we only pretend to be taking it easy before giving it everything when we're sitting in the car on the line. I look forward to partnering Alex Buncombe in the Nations Cup, too.

"Germany had an annoying habit of beating us at Wembley in 2007 and 2008, so it's about time we made it all the way now we'll be racing on the other side of London."

Vettel will partner Force India driver and Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg for Germany. Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa and Susie Wolff, the British racer who announced she will be retiring from motor racing at the end of the season on Wednesday, will also take part in the two-day event.

Sir Jackie Stewart hails 'tremendous' Lewis Hamilton

Sir Jackie Stewart congratulates Lewis Hamilton after Sunday's race. Credit: Reuters

Sir Jackie Stewart said it was "terrific" to watch Lewis Hamilton match his record of three Formula One world championships in Texas on Sunday.

Sir Jackie, the only other Briton with three titles, won the championship in 1969, 1971 and 1973 and backed Hamilton to go on to further success.

The 76-year-old Scot delayed his departure from the Austin circuit so he could congratulate Hamilton in person after his historic win.

He told ITV News: "It's been a long, long time waiting to see somebody else coming along and consistently winning and Lewis has done that this season in tremendous fashion.

"He himself has driven extremely well this year and I doubt think there's any doubt that right now he's the fastest grand prix driver racing at the moment.

"He's won three now and I'm sure he's going to go on and win more."

Current and ex-drivers congratulate Hamilton on title win

Lewis Hamilton's fellow drivers joined the thousands of people around the globe congratulating him on winning his third Formula One world championship.

Former teammate and double title-winner Fernando Alonso, 1992 champion Nigel Mansell and fellow Brit Will Stevens were among those to tweet their support.

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