Formula One's governing body, the FIA, has kept its distance from sexual allegations in a British tabloid newspaper about its president Max Mosley.
The News of the World reported in a front page story that FIA president Mosley, 67, had taken part in a 'sadomasochistic orgy' with five prostitutes that was alleged to involve Nazi role-playing.
A video was also posted on the newspaper's website (notw.co.uk).
The news prompted an angry response from Jewish organisations, who called for Mosley's resignation.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, told The Times: "This is sick and depraved. For anyone to be in such a position of influence and power beggars belief. I am absolutely appalled."
Stephen Smith, director of the Holocaust Centre, added: "As Mr Mosley has condemned the racism in motor sport he should live up to the standards he sets. This is an insult to millions of victims, survivors and their families. He should apologise. He should resign from the sport."
There was also a sense of shock from those involved in F1. Stirling Moss told The Times: "I don't see how he can continue. I hope he can, frankly, because I think he's very good at what he does. I suppose what goes on behind closed doors is his business but when a thing comes out like this . . . it's an absolute shocker."
But the FIA declined to comment on the matter, and suggested the story could be the subject of legal action.
"This is a matter between Mr Mosley and the paper in question," an FIA spokesman said. "We understand that Mr Mosley's lawyers are now in contact with that newspaper and the FIA has no comment."
Not everyone, however, felt Mosley's position as president of the FIA had been compromised.
F1's commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone, who has long been a close ally of Mosley, said he was surprised by the allegations but did not feel it meant Mosley had to quit.
"I've known him an awful long time," he told The Times. "If somebody had told me this without the evidence I would have found it difficult to believe. Assuming it's all true, what people do privately is up to them.
"I don't honestly believe [it] affects the sport in any way. Knowing Max it might be all a bit of a joke. You know, it's one of those things where he's sort of taking the piss, rather than anything against Jewish people."
Mosley is the son of the late Oswald Mosley, founder of the pre-war British Union of Fascists. Married with two sons, he has been president of the FIA since 1993.