A leading Bahraini dissident, whose father was imprisoned for life for his role in pro-democracy protests, has claimed that taking Formula One to the country increases the number of human-rights abuses.
Maryam al-Khawaja has renewed calls for the Formula One chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, and the FIA president, Jean Todt, to remove the Bahrain race from the Formula One calendar, believing it legitimises a regime that has been heavily criticised by human-rights organisations and campaigners for press freedom.
The race was added to the schedule in 2004 although it was cancelled in 2011 at the height of sometimes violent protests against the government by pro-democracy campaigners.
"When we first started talking about this we would be told that you shouldn't mix sport and politics. In Bahrain, it's not just that the human-rights situation is bad and therefore Formula One shouldn't come to Bahrain. But having Formula One in Bahrain specifically causes human-rights violations," said al-Khawaja, who was raised in Denmark and returned to Bahrain in 2001 with her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
"The amount of arrests that happen before, during and after Formula One definitely accelerates. We've had women arrested, we've had children arrested."