Max Mosley will remain president of Formula One's governing body, the FIA, after winning a vote of confidence Tuesday from its members following his involvement in a sado-masochist sex scandal.
FIA announced that Mosley had won 103 of 169 votes cast during an extraordinary general assembly at FIA headquarters in Paris. Fifty five delegates voted against the motion, with seven abstentions and four invalid votes.
There had been mounting pressure for Mosley to go, from both leading national motorsport federations and also auto industry giants such as BMW, Mercedes, Toyota and Honda which feared for their image and sponsorship money.
But Mosley, 68, who appeared in an Internet video being beaten by prostitutes, will now be able to carry on as FIA president.
Mosley has admitted taking part in the hours-long orgy with five prostitutes but denied reports that there were Nazi connotations involved and has launched a legal action against the British newspaper, the News of the World.
But many Formula One teams have spoken out against the conduct of Mosley, who has been the FIA president for 17 years and whose current mandate expires in October 2009.
Nearly 20 of the 219 national member clubs had called for Mosley's resignation but the Briton still enjoys wide support among small national federations.
The German motoring federation, ADAC, one of the most outspoken critics of Mosley and Europe's biggest automobile association, were quick to react to the vote: they broke off ties with FIA.
But Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone out on a brave face Tuesday.
"It's business as usual as far as I'm concerned," Ecclestone, who represents the sport's commercial rights holders, told Reuters. "I hope it hasn't destabilized sponsors or manufacturers."
Ecclestone, said the commercial rights holders had a 100 year agreement with the FIA regardless of who was president and that would continue unchanged.
However he questioned how effectively Mosley, who has said he will stand down at the end of his term in office in October 2009, might be able to operate.
"I've always said publicly that I thought he (Mosley) should stand down at the end of the year," said Ecclestone.
"It's going to be difficult for him to act as a president of the FIA if the people who said before that they don't want to meet with him maintain that position," added the 77-year-old billionaire.
The FIA represents both motor racing associations and ordinary motoring organizations, with many of the former backing Mosley while the big guns in the latter grouping have been opposed.