This morning, tanks have been reported on the streets around the track, whilst on Wednesday night, four mechanics from team Force India were caught in the middle of demonstrations, petrol bombs landing near their vehicle. Two members of the team have since returned home.
Last year, the Bahrain grand prix was called off after 35 people were killed in protests before the race. This year, F1’s governing body, the FIA, only decided to go ahead with this year’s race at the last minute.
However, calls for the race to be cancelled are increasing. On last night’s BBC Question Time, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper added her voice to the mix saying, "It shouldn't go ahead, and I don't think British drivers should go. I think the Formula One should not go ahead in Bahrain."
Human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, speaking at a news conference, added: "Formula One in Bahrain has been taken as PR for the ruling elite, the repressive dictators who are ruling the country."
Protests have been ongoing in Bahrain against ruling leader Sunni al-Khalifa, who has been accused of human rights violations and acting in an anti-democratic way. The Bahrain government were hoping that this year’s race would draw a line under protests, but rebels have promised “three days of rage” to coincide with the event, in the hope of highlighting their plight.
"A number of rioters and vandals had been arrested for taking part in illegal rallies and gatherings, blocking roads and endangering people's lives by attacking them with petrol bombs, iron rods and stones," the Information Affairs Authority said in a statement.Some racers have spoken out against the FIA’s decision to race but others, such as Jenson Button, have said that they are happy to take part.