The well-known 'hacktivists' Anonymous brought down F1's official website on Friday, slamming Bernie Ecclestone as "evil" and threatening the "worst sh**storm" if the track action continues to proceed this weekend in the troubled island Kingdom.
"Attacks on their (the teams') computer servers could prevent the race taking place," the Daily Express newspaper speculated.
Anonymous also took control of another specialist website, posting a statement that accused the sport of supporting the Bahrain government despite the country's "human rights situation" and saying F1 will now "be punished".
In an awkward official press conference on Friday, team bosses continued to support the sport's decision to press ahead with the race.
"Ultimately we're a race team," said McLaren and FOTA's Martin Whitmarsh. "We're here to go motor racing and that's our number one priority."
04/20/12 Anonymous, the online group made up of several worldwide hackers, successfully took down the official Formula 1 website on Friday night. The move came as a large protest took place on a motorway heading into the Bahraini capital city.
Although the official site is back up and running at the time of writing, F1.com was offline for a period this evening and replaced with the text ‘Formula None’, along with several paragraphs explaining why this weekend’s F1 event should not go ahead.
Also on Friday night, no team has reported any issues in returning to their hotels from the race track, although a demonstration is being staged on a motorway between Budaiya – to the west of Manama – and the capital itself. Many involved are fighting against the F1 event, which is organized and promoted by the leaders of Bahrain. At the same time, a survey claims that 77 percent of locals hope the race does happen.
Earlier today, Force India skipped the entire second practice session in a bid to return all team members to the city before nightfall; four of mechanics had been fortunate to avoid injury when a petrol bomb exploded close to their van on Wednesday. Last night, a group of 12 Sauber mechanics also encountered disruption.
“I think cancelling the race just empowers extremists," Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said at the circuit on Friday. “For those of us trying to navigate a way out of this political problem, having this race allows us to build bridges across communities and get people working together. It allows us to celebrate our nation as an idea that is positive, not one that is divisive."
Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of the Formula One Group, said the following:
“If people have got a complaint about something else, it’s nothing to do with F1."