The beleaguered FIA president, Max Mosley, lost another round of his fight against a Sunday newspaper which recently revealed controversial aspects of his private life when the High Court yesterday refused an injunction to have the video that launched the scandal removed from the News of the World website.
Mr Justice Eady said that content of the video was now so widely familiar that Mosley could no longer reasonably expect to keep it out of the public domain.
"I have, with some reluctance, come to the conclusion that although this material is intrusive and demeaning, and despite the fact that there is no legitimate public interest in its further publication, the granting of an order against this respondent at the present juncture would merely be a futile gesture," he said. "The dam has effectively burst."
Tom Crone, legal manager of the News of the World, said in a statement: "Max Mosley's attempt to suppress the News of the World's video of his sordid activities has failed. The film is now back on the website."
Mosley has faced calls to resign from FIA member clubs, manufacturers and key formula one figures, but has refused. He says he intends to pursue legal action against the newspaper for breach of privacy and is reportedly seeking "unlimited damages."
New Zealand's peak automobile association has withdrawn an invitation to a transport and environment summit in June.
The FIA has confirmed that its senate has unanimously approved Mosley's proposal for an extraordinary general assembly to discuss the affair; this will be held on 3 June. A vote of confidence in Mosley's leadership will be taken by secret ballot. Members of the FIA senate and national sporting authorities who will sit on the extraordinary general assembly are to be sent copies of the video so that they can judge Mosley's activities for themselves.
At the weekend the former grand prix driver, Martin Brundle, whom Mosley threatened to sue for comments on last year's "Stepneygate" spying scandal, said: "The specific detail of the scandal surrounding him is largely irrelevant in my view. The sporting regulation he has used over the years to keep teams in check relates to bringing the sport into disrepute.
"If you live by the sword you die by the sword. Sitting on the fence on this issue for any of us inside the sport is not an option. We must condone or condemn.
"Mosley's position is untenable. He would have received much more sympathy had he tendered his resignation last Monday. His stance has inflamed the situation and he could never now make a keynote speech or force through penalties or regulations with the necessary credibility."Reuse content