• Bahrain Grand Prix

Heavy security as Formula One arrives in Bahrain

ESPNF1 Staff
April 18, 2012 « New Jersey race could be delayed a year - Ecclestone | Journalists greeted by relative normality »
Bahraini anti-government protests have continued ahead of the race weekend © Press Association

The first tranche of the Formula One teams were greeted by the sight of hundreds of protestors as they arrived in Bahrain for this weekend's controversial grand prix. The bulk of personnel are expected later today (Wednesday).

While a number of team members have been in the kingdom for up to a week helping to prepare for the race, most will land in the immediate build-up. Security has been increased around the circuit and on the road leading to the hotels in Manama after threats of an escalation in disruption as well as specific protests expected aimed at Formula One.

"No going back; we will continue our protests," read banners carried by demonstrators who were gathered at the Shiite-populated village of Al-Deir, near the airport. "Peaceful, peaceful, our revolt is peaceful," they chanted, while others held up banners that read "Down Hamad", a direct attack on Bahrain's king.

Although Formula One's bosses have continued to insist sport and politics should not mix, protestors have countered that the ruling elite are using the race to give credibility to the kingdom. In demonstrations yesterday the F1 trademark was hijacked with the 'F' replaced by a smoking sub-machine gun, while the crowd chanted anti-F1 slogans.