Max Mosley said Tuesday he will remain president of auto racing's governing body despite calls for him to resign because of his role in a sex scandal.
He wrote to officials at his organization, acknowledging his embarrassment and asking for their support. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
The 67-year-old Mosley said he will take legal action against the News of the World, which accused him of engaging in sexual acts with five prostitutes in a scenario that involved Nazi role-playing. Although he didn't deny his participation, Mosley said there was no "Nazi connotation to the matter," as was reported Sunday by the British tabloid.
"I have received a very large number of messages of sympathy and support ... suggesting that my private life is not relevant to my work and that I should continue in my role," Mosley wrote. "I am grateful and with your support I intend to follow this advice."
He termed the report a "wholly unwarranted invasion of my privacy and I intend to issue legal proceedings against the newspaper in the UK and other jurisdictions."
The letter was addressed to the presidents of FIA clubs, members of the FIA senate, the World Motor Sport Council and the World Council for Mobility and the Automobile.
"Regrettably you are now familiar with the results of this covert investigation and I am very sorry if this has embarrassed you or the club," Mosley wrote. "Not content with publicizing highly personal and private activities, which are, to say the least, embarrassing, a British tabloid newspaper published the story with the claim that there was some sort of Nazi connotation to the matter. This is entirely false."
Mosley is the son of British Union of Fascists party founder Oswald Mosley, a former British politician who served in Parliament for both the Labour and Conservative parties. Oswald Mosley died in 1980.
Two former Formula One champions have questioned whether Mosley should stay on as president.
"I just think he has to look very carefully at it (his role) and address his future," said Jackie Stewart, a three-time F1 champion from Scotland.
Jody Scheckter of South Africa, the 1979 F1 champion, urged Mosley to step down before the president's fourth term ends in October 2009.
"There is absolutely no question in my mind that Mosley should resign," Scheckter told The Guardian newspaper. "From a purely motor racing point of view you can't have somebody like this running the sport or any other sport come to that."
Mosley was scheduled to attend Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix and join the Bahraini Royal Family for a formal dinner. Those plans are now in doubt.
"Mr. Mosley was originally scheduled to arrive in Bahrain but FIA is not aware of his travel plans (now)," FIA said in a statement to the AP. "Mr. Mosley has been busy holding discussions with lawyers and has not communicated his latest plans to us."
A video posted Sunday on the News of the World's Web site showed a man identified as Mosley arriving at an apartment and then taking part in sex acts with women, one in a prisoner's uniform, while also speaking German. The video can no longer be found on the paper's Web site.
"He shouldn't go (to the Bahrain GP), should he?" F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told The Times of London. "The problem is he would take all the ink away from the race and put it on something which, honestly and truly, is nobody else's business anyway."