Hammond in pole position to front BBC’s F1 coverage

It appear that Top Gear presented Richard Hammond is in pole position to become the face of F1 for the BBC.

It has emerged that the BBC has paid around £200 million for the rights to screen Formula 1, £50 million more than ITV paid for it s current deal, despite not having any rival bidders for the sport.

Rumours have it that Hammond is said to be favourite for being presenter because of the affinity he has with F1 drivers having survived a high-speed crash in 2006. There is also talk that his co-presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May may also be brought on-board, and the F1 coverage will be in the style of Top Gear. Bernie Ecclestone is said to support the Top Gear proposition, and if it goes ahead, it is thought there will be some crossover between the two programmes.

Some people have questioned why the BBC have paid so much for the rights to F1, particularly given the fact that all other major UK sports broadcasters have revealed they were not approached and they did not tender a bid for the sport. It is believed that the BBC wanted the right because F1 is one of the hottest sports properties in the UK at the moment thanks to young British driver Lewis Hamilton. It is also understood that the BBC does not believe that it is paying a sum of money that much different from ITV s current deal.

The BBC s new contract runs from 2009 to 2013 and replaces ITV s current contract which was set to end in 2010. As well as the TV rights, the BBC will also be covering the sport on a range of other media including the radio, mobile phone, internet, video on-demand and BBC iPlayer.