"We're here to go motor racing," opened Martin Whitmarsh at the start of the post-practice press conference in Bahrain on Friday. "That's our number one priority."

The McLaren team principal and his fellow team bosses were uniformly firm in their view that it would be wrong for F1 to become involved in local or international politics, and that it was important that Sunday's Grand Prix race go ahead as normal.

"I don't think that going into what's happened over the last millennia or the politics around the world is something that most of us here are equipped to comment on," he insisted.

"I think there is a lot of support for the race from all parts of society here, so I think that's positive," Whitmarsh continued. "Often the majority aren't heard on these occasions but I think there's a fair amount of support - you can feel it here. I understand they've sold out the grandstand so presumably that's a tangible sign of support."

"F1 is a sport at the end of the day and it's wrong for it to be used politically," insisted Red Bull's Christian Horner. "We're here to race ... For us, it's about trying to extract the maximum from this weekend as a sporting team in a sporting championship."

"From a political point of view," added Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, "the only thing I can is that there are a lot of things going on and we really hope that all the dialogue that has started within the different parts will do the best thing in the shortest time possible for everyone. This is really the hope that we have, as sportsmen and as a man of the world."

When pressed by journalists as to whether F1's presence in Bahrain was acting as a trigger for unrest and police oppression, the team managers refused to be drawn further.

"I don't think we're going to comment on that," said Whitmarsh. "We are here to take part in a race. I think we've made our position clear."

When the questions kept on coming, it was Domenicali's turn to put his foot down: "Let's focus on our jobs and try, on our side, to speak about the sport. This is really our task, to be honest. "I don't think it's correct for us to go into a political discussion on what is happening."

Force India's Bob Fernley added that his team's decision not to take part in FP2 shouldn't be taken as criticism of the race or of the FIA or FOM's decision to continue.

"What you have to accept is that on Wednesday evening there was a very unfortunate incident for members of Force India," he said. "It de-stabilised the emotional element of our team.

"Yesterday evening we put a programme together which addressed all the issues from the team, we sat down with them all, and that meant a slight re-structuring of the programme in order that we could make sure that there was comfort within the team and that we delivered a very strong qualifying and race programme," he continued. "We've stuck with the programme that we've had to put in place. It's not a slight at all on the event, it's just about an internal structure of Force India."

"The whole of our programme is now secure for going forward for the Bahrain Grand Prix, said Fernley, insisting that the team would take part in Saturday's practice and qualifying sessions as well as Sunday's Grand Prix itself as normal.

"I have to say that Sheikh Abdulla, Bernie, everybody has been enormously helpful in our process," added Fernley.