Max Mosley, president of world motorsport's governing body (FIA), said he would stay away from this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix after he was warned off attending by the boss of Formula One after lurid claims about his private life.
Mosley was pictured in a British Sunday newspaper allegedly participating in an orgy with five prostitutes dressed as Nazi guards.
Bernie Ecclestone, a longstanding friend of Mosley's, said the FIA supremo's presence in the Gulf state would distract attention from the race and would not be appreciated by the country's ruling royal family.
"He shouldn't go, should he?," Ecclestone told Tuesday's edition of The Times. "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."
Asked how the Bahraini royal family might react to Mosley's presence, Ecclestone said: "They wouldn't like it."
The News of the World published photographs Sunday which showed Mosley, 67, who has headed up the FIA since 1991, spanking and being whipped by five call girls.
He was also shown brandishing a whip and wearing ankle chains.
Mosley refused to step down on Tuesday, but said he would stay away from Bahrain Grand Prix so as he could mend fences with his family.
The 67-year-old son of pre-World War II British fascist leader Oswald Mosley claimed had been the victim of a covert surveillance operation orchestrated by unknown enemies of his so as to force him to resign his post.
Mosley, who has been president of FIA - an unpaid role - since 1993, said he will take legal action against the perpetrators of the covert action.
He apologized in a statement for any embarrassment caused to the organization and its members.
Mosley's father Oswald Mosley was a friend of Adolf Hitler and led a British fascist party in the 1930s which led to him being interned by the British government during World War II.
Jewish representatives accused Mosley, who is one of the most powerful men in world sport, of insulting the victims of the Holocaust.
Edie Friedman, the director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, said: "It's quite disturbing behavior especially given his history. He should definitely apologize."
British racing great Stirling Moss, whose father was Jewish, said Mosley had no choice but to resign.
"I suppose what goes on behind closed doors is his business but when a thing comes out like this... it's an absolute shocker," Moss said.
Ecclestone distanced himself from growing calls for Mosley's resignation.
"What Max should do is what he thinks is right because it is only him that's involved, not the FIA," said Ecclestone. "He must do what he believes, in his heart of hearts, is the right thing."