Formula One organisers are "burying their heads in the sand" and putting the Grand Prix in Bahrain ahead of human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch claimed today.
The group said international racing bodies responsible for scheduling the race, which begins on Sunday, have taken no steps to address human rights violations linked to the event.
"The Formula 1 organisers apparently prefer to bury their heads in the sand, risking holding their race against repression it has provoked."
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch
Bahrain has been criticised by Amnesty International after several protesters were arrested during demonstrations ahead of Sunday's Formula One race.
The human rights group warned that the Gulf Arab state was inviting a repeat of last year's violent Grand Prix clashes.
Bahrain's state news agency reported last night that a male suspect in custody had confessed to burning a car that had exploded in the country's financial district on April 14.
Four others were arrested in connection with stealing and burning a car and another person was detained over an accusation he blocked a main road and caused damage to a Bahraini's car.
The Government has been sharply criticised for refusing to back a boycott of the Bahrain Grand Prix over human rights concerns, despite implementing its own boycott of the Euro 2012 football championships in Ukraine.
The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said it was difficult to find any "consistency of logic" in ministers' approach to the issue.
It said Bahrain should have been included by the Foreign Office on its list of "countries of concern" in the wake of the "brutal" suppression of anti-government protests last year.