Boycott Formula 1 Grand Prix
Cartoon calling for boycott of controversial race (Latouff/

A car blast has hit the Bahraini capital of Manama ahead of Sunday's controversial Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The explosion took place in the Financial Harbour district and left no casualties, according to the Bahraini ministry of interior.

"A terrorist group used a gas cylinder to burn a car in Manama at night on Sunday causing an explosion, causing no damage," read an official statement.

Bahrain's February 14, a youth opposition movement, claimed responsibility for the blast saying its purpose was to disrupt "activity in Manama's financial centre in opposition to holding the Formula One race."

However, Bahrain's information affairs minister Samira Rajab reassured media at a press conference in Manama saying the situation is "very reassuring", accusing foreign media of "blowing the security situation out of proportion," according to the BBC. "There has been no major escalation of violence on the ground recently as the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix is drawing nearer," the minister said.

Clashes have already erupted in the capital Manama against the controversial F1 Grand Prix, which is scheduled for this weekend. The rally came after Bahraini authorities launched a crackdown on opposition activists with local sources reporting increased house raids and arbitrary detention of protesters.

Anonymous has threatened to take offline the websites of Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Bahraini government in support of pro-democracy protests in the Gulf kingdom.

However, Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has played down human rights concerns over the Bahrain Grand Prix.

"There's no reason why it shouldn't be (a success)," Ecclestone said.