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FEBRUARY 12, 2001

BBC win radio rights to F1

THE BBC has fought off stiff competition to win the exclusive radio rights to Formula One for the next five seasons.

The contract to cover the races was due to finish at the end of 2001, but Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone said that it was an obvious choice to let the arrangement continue.

"The massive radio following for Formula One has been very well served by BBC Radio 5 Live in the United Kingdom," said Ecclestone. "And when something works that well it's best left in place."

Controller of Radio 5 Live, Bob Shennan, said: "Jonathan Legard and the Five Live approach to Formula One has spawned a strong following among Formula One fans."

Legard is now expected to continue with radio commentary, rather than move to ITV as a replacement for Murray Walker, who retires at the end of this year.

Peter Salmon, BBC Director of Sport, was delighted that the "high calibre sport" would remain on Radio 5 Live.