One of the co-hosts of BBC motor show Top Gear, James May, spoke to reporters outside his home and said the announcement Jeremy Clarkson would not be having his contract renewed was "a tragedy".

"Well, apparently, they've chopped him. I've only found this out by prizing the information out of various BBC sources. Nobody's actually told me officially until a few moments ago when they emailed. I don't really have anything to say about it. It's a tragedy. I'm sorry that ought to have been a small incident sorted out easily turned into something big.

"I don't really want to say anything more than that at the moment. I've only known for the last few minutes. And if you'll excuse me I very desperately have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari," said May, shortly after the BBC announced Clarkson's departure.

When pushed on his own future, May intimated he will spend time thinking about what to do next: "Well, I don't want to talk about that too much but I think we're very much, the three of us, as a package it works for very complicated reasons that a lot of people don't fully understand. That will require a lot of careful thought."

Clarkson, 54, who has generated both controversy and profits for Britain's publicly funded broadcaster, was already on a final warning over accusations last year that he had used racist language while filming the show.

BBC director-general Tony Hall said he had not taken the decision lightly, and that he remained a great fan of Clarkson, whom he described as a "huge talent".

More than a million people from around the world signed an online petition calling for the BBC to reinstate Clarkson after he was initially suspended.

In a report, the BBC said producer Oisin Tymon was subject to an unprovoked physical and verbal attack by Clarkson at a hotel in northern England earlier this month, which left him with swelling and bleeding to his lip.

After the attack, Tymon was understood to have gone to hospital for a check-up.

Clarkson reported the incident himself and the report said it was not disputed by the presenter or any witness that Tymon was the victim of an unprovoked attack.

North Yorkshire Police has asked the BBC for a copy of the report on the Jeremy Clarkson incident.

"North Yorkshire Police is liaising with the BBC regarding the alleged incident in North Yorkshire involving Jeremy Clarkson," they said in a statement.

"We have asked the BBC for the report which details the findings of their internal investigation into the matter.

"The information will be assessed appropriately and action will be taken by North Yorkshire Police where necessary."