The Anonymous hacking collective has attacked and taken offline Formula One website in support of the Bahraini protests against the decision to stage the Grand Prix despite continued government crackdown on activists, professionals and opposition members.
The collective has staged a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against the official website of Formula One. "TANGO DOWN formula1.com for #F1 support of #Bahrain's human rights abuse, torture, murder, censorship #OpBahrain #Anonymous," tweeted anon Pastor Quinn.
The hacktivists have also defaced the official website of the Bahrain government.
"Anonymous Op Bahrain | Target: DOWN | Bahrain.bh | #OpBahrain #Bahrain #Anonymous | JOIN US IN irc.voxanon.net #OpBahrain" announced anon People Liberation Front.
The collective posted a statement on the website F1 Racers condemning the regime of King Hamad bin al Khalifa. "For over one year the people of Bahrain have struggled against the oppressive regime of King Hamad bin Al Khalifa," reads the statement. "They have been murdered in the streets, run over with vehicles, beaten, tortured, tear gassed, kidnapped by police, had their businesses vandalised by police, and have tear gas thrown in to their homes on a nightly basis."
"Still the regime persists to deny any meaningful reform and continues to use brutal and violent tactics to oppress the popular calls for reformation," the statement continues. "For these reasons the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain should be strongly opposed. The Al Khalifa regime stands to profit heavily off the race and has promised to use live ammunition against protestors in preparation."
"The Formula 1 racing authority was well-aware of the Human Rights situation in Bahrain and still chose to contribute to the regime's oppression of civilians and will be punished," it says.
The collective announced on Thursday the re-launch of Operation Bahrain with a press release on AnonPaste:
"As of tomorrow, Friday - April 20, 2012 the entire global Anonymous will begin to take up the cause of the Bahrain Revolution," reads the statement. "Mr. Eccelstone, you are either one evil mother f***er to hold your race in support of this regime [...] or else you have been lied to and are ignorant of the atrocities committed by these tyrants."
"Beginning tomorrow, and lasting for the duration of this race - Anonymous will turn your web site (www.formula1.com) into a smoking crater in cyber space," the statement continues.
The hacktivists also called an all members of the collective to e-mail and phone bomb the official numbers and addresses of FIA in US, Canada, UK, Australia and Europe.
"We will also jam your phone lines, bomb your E-Mail inboxes - and wreck anything else of yours we can find on the internet," reads the statement. "And to anyone in the world who watches this race, either in person or on television - you also have the blood of the Bahrain Freedom Martyrs on your hands. Turn your face away from this abominable entertainment, and join us online to defend the brave protesters fighting for their freedom in Bahrain."
Bahraini protesters have promised "three day of rage" to coincide with the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix with several demonstrations planned.
Protesters in Bahrain are angered at the lack of international response to what they say is the continued government crackdown on activists, professionals and opposition members.
In return they have called for the cancellation of the Grand Prix, which was abandoned last year, following weeks of unrest.
The Formula One governing body, the FIA, decided to go forward with the race this year but tensions between the security forces and protesters have escalated in recent days with fears violence is set to increase.
For further news on Anonymous's recent activities, check out the IBTimes UK Cyber Warfare section.