Human Rights Watch has warned Formula One that by racing in Bahrain the sport is taking a side in the politics and endorsing the country's regime.
On Thursday, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone made his thoughts on the matter clear when he stated that the Bahrain GP would go ahead as scheduled unless the local authorities opted to cancel.
Explaining his view, Ecclestone said: "When we enter a country in the normal way, we don't deal with the religion or the politics.
"We will go there. If it was a pop singer, they would be there and they would sing. We shouldn't get involved with other people's politics in Formula 1 racing."
However, Joe Stork, the deputy middle east director of Human Rights Watch, says that by agreeing to race in Bahrain, F1 is getting involved.
"You can't say that you are not mixing politics and sport when you are coming down on one side," Stork told Autosport.
"You may prefer not to be facing the choice of whether to go in or stay out, but this is the choice F1 faces. Whatever decision it takes, there is a political aspect to it.
"We don't feel that it is our place to be calling for F1 to boycott Bahrain. But it is not a very good situation and it's getting steadily worse.
"We are not security experts, so that's a whole separate consideration that F1 needs to take into account as well.
"We are looking at a lockdown. F1 is not my world, but this seems to be a terrible climate in which to hold what is supposed to be a competitive, festive sporting event. In the circumstances, I don't know who is going to be having any fun."
Stork added that F1 could face a public relations nightmare if it presses on with the grand prix.
"I think that they [F1] will have some explaining to do. I can easily imagine that the security will be such that you won't have the race disrupted on the track and I imagine that they can keep that under control.
"But if you have a situation where there are demonstrations on a nightly, if not daily basis, clashes with security forces who aren't known for the most sophisticated crowd control techniques is not going to be good.
"It's not going to be good for Bahrain, it's not going to be good for F1 either if it happens either during the race or when it's clear that the demonstrations are primarily aimed at stopping the race. That's what the story will be."