Max Mosley, the chief rule-maker in world motorsport, is not attending the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend because he has been told by the Kingdom’s Crown Prince not to show up after revelations of his part in a sado-masochistic orgy with five prostitutes.

Mr Mosley, who is fighting to save his career, had told friends that he would not be going to the race because he is too busy with his lawyers trying to assemble a case for invasion of privacy against the News of the World which on Sunday ran a lurid expose of his bizarre sexual activities.

But The Times can reveal that Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, has written to Mr Mosley informing him in no uncertain terms that he would not be welcome in the desert kingdom, an embarrassingly clear sign that Mr Mosley’s reputation has been severely damaged.

“In light of the allegations, I suspect you may be deliberating on your planned attendance at the Grand Prix here in Bahrain later in the week,” the Crown Prince told Mr Mosley in a letter sent to him on Tuesday. “I therefore felt it important to convey the position of Bahrain and its people.”

The allegations in question included a video showing Mr Mosley, the son of the Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, engaging in spanking and bondage sessions with five call girls at a West London flat late last week in which he is clearly heard to speak in German.

The paper claimed there were Nazi overtones to the episode, something strenuously denied by Mr Mosley. “Clearly of paramount importance is the success of the event for all concerned — the Kingdom of Bahrain, Formula One and spectators. The focus quite rightly should be on the race. With great regret,” added the Crown Prince, “I feel that under the current circumstances, it would be inappropriate for you to be in Bahrain at this time.”

The Crown Prince concluded by saying that he did not want to add to what he called the “difficulties that you find yourself in” but he hoped that Mr Mosley would understand the position he had taken.

The letter is a big blow to Mr Mosley, the president of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) the world governing body of motorsport, and underlines that, even as he fights to save his career, he is already a liabilty to his own organization.

Mr Mosley had planned to attend the racetrack at Sakhir, just outside Bahrain city, tomorrow where Britain’s new star, Lewis Hamilton, will be looking for his second win of the new season. In the evening he had been due to attend a dinner hosted by the Crown Prince. Instead he will have to watch the race on television from one of his homes in England or Monaco.

The letter was sent to Mr Mosley’s address in Monaco and was copied to his friend and business associate, Bernie Ecclestone, the billionaire Formula One boss. Mr Ecclestone has stood by Mr Mosley so far, despite widespread revulsion in Formula One at the allegations. But even he told The Times this week that he believed the FIA president should stay away from the race in Bahrain for fear of offending the Royal Family and distracting attention.

The disclosure of the Crown Prince’s letter comes a day after Mr Mosley launched a counter-attack on the News of World in which he claimed sources in the intelligence services had told him that he had been the victim of a covert investigation. Although he did not deny attending the orgy, he made it clear that there was no Nazi connotation. It has since emerged that he will claim that he was speaking in German as he spanked the prostitutes because at least two of them were German-speakers.

Despite Mr Mosley’s conviction that he can weather the storm, few in the sport believe that will be possible.

Nicknamed “Mad Max” by some in motorsport, he once said he did not mind flak because his family was used to it. Most recently, Mr Mosley stood up against racism by giving warning of sanctions if there was a repeat of the abuse against Lewis Hamilton, the only black driver on the circuit, in Barcelona during testing for this season.