John Yates, the former Metropolitan Police officer who resigned over the phone-hacking scandal, has admitted security cannot be guaranteed at the weekend's Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Yates, currently on a six-month contract advising Bahrain's ruling Khalifa family and the government on police reform and is also working on security for the event, stated protests to coincide with the F1 event are inevitable.
He told The Guardian: "People say can we guarantee security. Of course we can't guarantee security. I'd be a fool to sit here and say that. Is it possible there might be an incursion on the track? Of course there is. It's an open event. Can you stop some idiot running onto the track? There have been other incidents of track incursions."
Protesters have called for a "day of rage" ahead of the Gulf state race on Sunday. Nearly 50 people have been killed since the Arab Spring revolution began in February 2011, as violence between security forces and protesters from Bahrain's Shiite majority continues. The mounting pressure from protesters to cancel the race stems from its association with the ruling royal family.
The country's majority Shia population has continually demanded democratic reforms from the nation's Sunni rulers, while the government are attempting to quell the protesting.
Formula 1 teams privately believed the race - which was cancelled last year - would be scrapped, but the FIA confirmed last week it would go ahead. F1 chiefs meanwhile continue to be urged by the Labour party to cancel the race.
Mr Yates, known as "Yates of the Yard" in his previous job, added: "There will be protests over the weekend. But we want to make this a sporting event, not a security event.
"I judge it more likely there will be protests on the route and protests around the villages. I just hope it's a good event and I hope it goes off without too much trouble."
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more