Amnesty International has called on Formula One to put pressure on Azeri authorities to improve their human rights record.
On one side are Tony Blair, a powerful consortium of energy interests, including BP, and the autocratic ruler of a former Soviet bloc country. On the other are the olive growers of Puglia and a comedian turned political maverick.
Azerbaijan is set to become the latest country to host a grand prix after announcing a deal that will bring F1 to the country from 2016 onwards.
BP is at the centre of one of the world's biggest gas sales agreements, worth up to $100bn (£62bn) over 25 years, after signing a deal to supply energy from a Caspian Sea project that could reduce Europe's reliance on Russian fossil fuels.
Tony Adams hardly made the most auspicious of starts.