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ITV drops Formula One website after 12 years

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Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso racing at the Spanish Grand Prix

© Rex Features / The World of Sports SC

ITV has dropped its Formula One website after more than 12 years following the joint broadcasting deal between Sky and the BBC.

The ITV.com/f1 website, launched in 1999, closed down at the end of last year.

ITV, which aired F1 on TV up to 2008, said that it was the "right time to bow out" as Sky and BBC will jointly cover the motorsport from this year.

"We've had 12 great years, including three since ITV gave up the broadcast rights to the sport," said ITV.

"With F1 embarking on a new era in 2012 in which the sport will be televised by both BBC and Sky, now seemed the right time to bow out."

The commercial broadcaster thanked everyone who has contributed to the F1 site over the years, including Martin Brundle, Ted Kravitz and Steve Rider, who have all joined Sky's new Formula One team.

"We'd like to convey our gratitude to everyone who was involved in ITV's award-winning F1 coverage and who gave so freely of their time for the website: Murray Walker, Martin Brundle, James Allen, Ted Kravitz, Jim Rosenthal, Steve Rider, Mark Blundell, Louise Goodman and Beverley Turner, plus Malcolm Clinton and the entire North One TV production team," said ITV.

"We'd also like to thank the many contributors who have written regularly for the site over the years, including David Coulthard, Mark Webber, Heikki Kovalainen, Peter Windsor, Matt Bishop, Joe Saward, Mark Hughes, Dan Knutson, Frank Hopkinson and Rob Sinfield.

"But most of all, we'd like to thank you, our millions of readers, who have always let us know where we were going right (and wrong) and have made the site a lively forum for debate through your passionate contributions to our Talkbacks, blogs and debates."

ITV said that it will launch a new sport website later in 2012 which will include coverage of a "wide range of motorsports".

The broadcaster aired exclusive live TV coverage of Formula One up to 2008, when the BBC picked up the sport.

However, the corporation caused controversy after it agreed to share the rights with Sky from 2012 to 2018, meaning half of each season's Grand Prix will only be available live on the pay-TV platform.

Last month, BBC director general Mark Thompson defended the deal, claiming that any other arrangement would have been worse for fans of the sport.

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