BeIN Sports has left Formula One without a broadcast partner in the Middle East after deciding not to renew its contract.

The Qatar-based broadcaster has shown the sport across the Middle East and North Africa since 2014, but has decided against a new contract to continue broadcasts into the new season, which begins on March 17.

BeIN Sports has blamed low viewing figures and the ongoing piracy issues for its decision, having previously urged sporting bodies to do more to tackle the piracy of beoutQ.

“A rights holder’s stance on beoutQ’s piracy – in other words whether they’re taking legal action, making a public stand, and doing everything within their power to combat the industrial-scale theft of their rights – is a critical factor that we’re now considering when bidding,” said Tom Keaveny, managing director of BeIN MENA.

BeIN’s previous deal was believed to be worth up to $40 million a year, but Formula One have said they are in the process of finalising an agreement with a new licensee.

Formula One has been owned by the US company Liberty Media since 2017, who are keen to expand interest in the sport beyond Europe.