Amid reports that the BBC is set to slash the funding available to its sports channels, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has reiterated that the contract to show free to air Formula One remains unaffected. In typical Bernie style, Ecclestone had the following to say to British news publication the Times when asked about the BBC's Formula One hosting position, "Everything is great with the BBC, they just want to pay less money. I am getting very stupid and old, so I had to ask them if they had a contract with us," added the 85-year-old. "They said they had, so I told them that we had better stick to it then." The free-to-air broadcaster shares the television rights with F1's main British broadcaster Sky and have a contract until the end of 2018 to show half the races live and half as part of a comprehensive highlights package. It is understood that the F1 coverage may be dropped after the BBC failed to renegotiate the deal. No doubt many insiders within the Formula One paddock will be alarmed at the continual trend of moving away from free-to-air TV, and the loss of audience size this brings, coupled with Bernie's dislike of utilising internet services, which would serve to vastly increase Formula One viewership, Formula One finds itself in a dire situation for fans who want to watch the sport but cannot or aren't willing to spend upwards of £700 per year on Sky's subscription service. If the deal falls through, then this could potentially also affect viewers in Australia who share the exact same deal for Formula One coverage between free to air Channel 10, and subscription service Foxtel. It is unclear at this stage if any other broadcasters are interested (or eligible) to bid for the joint rights should the BBC fail to renew. Do you agree with Formula One's continued drive to move coverage behind a paywall? Leave your comments below!