Former FIA president Max Mosley says the decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix on the 2011 world championship calendar "will cost Formula 1 dear" unless it is reversed.
The FIA World Motor Sport Council agreed on Friday that the Sakhir race, which was postponed from March due to the political tension in the Gulf state, should be rescheduled to 30 October, with the inaugural Indian GP moved to December to make room.
Writing in a column for the Daily Telegraph, Mosley said he accepted that global sports had to visit countries whose actions attracted the disapproval of other nations.
"There are several reasons for this," he wrote. "First, to apply the highest standards of human rights you would have to exclude a very large number of countries from international sport, including at least one close ally of the United Kingdom.
"Secondly, if you were to apply anything less than the highest standards, you would be faced with endless debate about where to draw the line.
"Third, it is not the function of a sporting body to seek to dictate to governments what they can and cannot do. Politics should be left to the politicians.
"A sports administrator is elected to run a sport. Anyone who wants to be a politician should stand for election in politics, not sport."
But he argued that in the case of Bahrain, F1 was being actively used to send out a message about the state of the country.
"Surely the line has to be drawn when a sporting event is not mere entertainment in a less-than-perfect country, but is being used by an oppressive regime to camouflage its actions," Mosley wrote.
"If a sport accepts this role, it becomes a tool of government. If Formula 1 allows itself to be used in this way in Bahrain, it will share the regime's guilt as surely as if it went out and helped brutalise unarmed protesters."
After recounting some of the Bahrain government's actions during and following the protests which sparked the crisis in February, Mosley added: "Having carried out these horrific acts, the Bahrain government wants to clean up its image. That's where the grand prix comes in. By running the race they hope to show the world the troubles were just a small, temporary difficulty and everything is now back to normal.
"By agreeing to race there, Formula 1 becomes complicit in what has happened. It becomes one of the Bahrain government's instruments of repression. The decision to hold the race is a mistake which will not be forgotten and, if not reversed, will eventually cost Formula 1 dear."
Mosley was president of motorsport's governing body from 1993 to 2009, when he chose not to stand for re-election for a fifth term and was succeeded by former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt.