Formula One is bracing for its return to Bahrain next week amid fresh protests about the staging of a grand prix in a country still riven by sectarian and political divisions.

The protests may not be as intense as they were the past two years prompting the cancellation of the 2011 race and vast security measures to allow the 2012 grand prix to proceed but thousands still demonstrated on Friday against the race, to be held on April 21.

Organisers of the protests said more demonstrations were planned.

Franz Tost, team principal of Toro Rosso, said it is “very important” the race should go ahead, adding “We should go there and do our race ... and political topics should be solved by someone else.”

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