Formula One was coming under renewed pressure on Wednesday night from British politicians to cancel Sunday's controversial Bahrain Grand Prix.
As anti-government protests continued in the Gulf kingdom, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn won support for an early day motion which "believes that the Formula One race will be used by the Bahrain government as an endorsement of its policies of suppression of dissent". At the same time as that news was filtering through to teams out here, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain published an open letter which it has sent to some of Formula One's biggest sponsors, urging them to boycott this race.
"Should the Bahrain Grand Prix go ahead," the letter read, "the sport and its associates run the risk of looking greedy and out of touch with the reality of the situation.
"We are most alarmed that you see no grounds to sever your brand and save its reputation from a totalitarian regime."
The letter, which was signed by Andy Slaughter MP, who chairs the all-party group which includes four Lords and 17 MPs, was sent to big names from Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, to Dietrich Mateschitz, the CEO of Red Bull.
Already the build-up of pressure has claimed its first victim, with Porsche Supercup squad MRS yesterday withdrawing its entry for this weekend's race, which is part of the Formula One undercard, citing security concerns.
"It is the first time in our team history that we have had to cancel a race of the Porsche Supercup," team principal Karsten Molitor said. "In the end we have the responsibility for our employees."
Following the cancellation of last year's grand prix, Formula One's rulers confirmed last Friday their intention to push ahead with this year's race.
The announcement triggered an increase in the number and intensity of the daily protests, which are now being witnessed by Formula One personnel, including international media, at close quarters.
Although the rowdier demonstrations are confined to outlying villages after dark, where youths and police trade tear gas and Molotov cocktails in running battles, around 100 protesters managed to gather in Bab Al Bahrain, the old souk in central Manama, yesterday afternoon, for a protest organised by human rights activist Nabeel Rajab.
Riot police used sound bombs to disperse the group after about an hour, chasing protesters through the streets, with Rajab claiming that only the presence of foreign journalists had kept them at bay that long.
"It's positive now you are here, otherwise those guys would not respect us for a second," he said. "We would have been attacked by sound bombs, tear gas and rubber bullets. This is the culture they have."
Zayed Alzayani, the chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit, had earlier said that he could not understand why the race was being caught up in the country's politics. Rajab argued that it was because Formula One is "the ruling family's sport".
"Because of crimes committed last year Bahrain was in international isolation," Rajab said. "Now Formula One is used as a PR tool to come out of international isolation. The race is helping the ruling family."
Some onlookers, however, were unimpressed by Rajab's claims. One Indian-born Bahraini remonstrated with him, saying: "You realise you are ruining the economy for all of us? How can it sustain itself if you get the Formula One cancelled?"
Nevertheless, the protests are due to increase as the weekend nears, with three 'Days of Rage' due to begin tomorrow.
Rajab said that Formula One should have nothing to fear, condemning the use of violence. "We don't have anything against the sport but, whether it is cancelled or not, we will try to get the benefit of the publicity," he said.
They are not doing badly on that score. As teams and drivers reconvene in the Sakhir paddock this afternoon for the first time since March 2010, they do so with strong words from Westminster ringing in their ears.