Former Formula 1 star Juan-Pablo Montoya has insisted the sex scandal enveloping Max Mosley is merely 'a laughing matter', as one of the sport's team owners also sprang to the FIA President's defence but further high-profile motoring bodies deserted him.

The News of the World published a front page expos? alleging the 67-year-old had been involved in a 'sick Nazi orgy with 5 hookers' near to his London home, and though Mosley does not deny the majority of the claims, he has vigorously rejected any suggestions of Nazi overtones to the five-hour, ?2,500 experience, describing them as 'pure fabrication'.

"I was so shocked by it," Montoya - a six-time grand prix-winner for McLaren-Mercedes and Williams-BMW - commented in an interview with the Associated Press. "When they sent [the video] to me, I was like 'no way!' Now, I'm just like 'Hey, he's just an old guy trying to have some fun'.

"I loved it - it's a laughing matter! You know, when I first heard about it, it was shocking, but then he decided to play it like nothing has happened and it's just so hilarious."

The 32-year-old - who has switched over to American NASCAR racing since leaving F1 back in mid-2006 - stopped short, however, of saying whether he agreed with the common paddock consensus that Mosley should resign.

"I do have an opinion on it," he admitted, "but I'm not going to say it, and I'm glad I am not there."

The man at the top of world motorsport's governing body has also received support from Force India team owner Vijay Mallya. Whilst the Indian billionaire admitted he had found the tabloid reports 'positively shocking', he argued the revelations would do little to deter potential sponsors from entering the top flight, something Sir Jackie Stewart says he fears may be a consequence of the fall-out [see separate story - click here].

"The focus and attention now is: 'What is Max's future?'" The Scotsman quotes Mallya as having said. "It isn't that the popularity of the sport or its future is in question as a result of what has happened. Formula 1 is great, growing, very popular [and] fantastic, so business rises above it all.

"A hard-nosed businessman will make a decision on spending money in Formula 1, irrespective of the Mosleys of this world. They are not going to dictate the economic benefits.

"It is very clear that Formula 1 in general is a huge advertising platform because of the number of eyes viewing the TV, second only to the Olympics and the World Cup. As a businessman, I have used Formula 1 as a platform for the past twelve years, and now other businesses can use Force India as their platform to reach out.

"That is not going to be affected by Mosley or anybody else. I have my sponsors, and they don't really know who Mosley is [or] care who he is."

Force India is the newest outfit on the F1 grid, and with rising star Karun Chandhok - already a winner in GP2 - and an Indian Grand Prix on the horizon in 2010, sponsors, Mallya underlines, are falling at the team's feet, irrespective of the scandal swirling around the sport's president.

"You could ask the question as to what will the Indian public, fans and potential fans of F1 and Force India think?" the billionaire Kingfisher Airlines chief said. "Fortunately, Force India is insulated from it because people are generally proud that India has a team on the grid, something that has never happened before. It is a reflection of the new modern India and new modern Indian."

Former grand prix driver Hans-Joachim Stuck, however, expressed a rather different view on the matter, revealing his surprise that Mosley did not step down immediately. The FIA President is continuing to fight to hold onto his ever-more precarious position, even in the light of widespread criticism and condemnation from some of the sport's leading figures, car manufacturers and public bodies.

Moreover, he is currently pursuing legal action against the News of the World, seeking 'unlimited damages' for a breach of privacy. He won an injunction against the Sunday tabloid to prevent it from re-using the same photographs and videos from its March 30 edition when it published a follow-up feature the following week.

"I am no saint," Stuck told German newspaper Bild, "and each person can do with his personal life what he wishes, but Mosley is the leader of the FIA. He is a role model for young people.

"You know, [German chancellor] Angela Merkel and [former chancellor] Gerhard Schroder can't leap around on a nudist beach either. [Mosley] has missed doing the right thing, which was to quickly resign. What he is doing now, I cannot understand."

After the American Automobile Association sought to distance itself from the growing crisis, meanwhile, three other national motoring organisations have similarly moved to express their distaste over the revelations.

Canadian Automobile Association president Tim Shearman is believed to have written to Mosley asking for his resignation, whilst his Austrian equivalent Hans Peter Halouska - secretary general of the Osterreichische Automobil, Motorrad und Touring Club, Austria's motor racing federation - admitted that he fears "that it will now be difficult for Mosley to exercise his duties", speaking to the Vorarlberger Nachrichten newspaper.

More significantly still, it has emerged that the New Zealand Automobile Association has withdrawn an invitation to Mosley to visit the country to participate in a transport and environment summit in June. He was already forced to miss the Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend after the country's royal family requested he stay away.

"I wrote to him late last week suggesting it might not be possible under the circumstances," spokesman Greg Hunting told Radio New Zealand. "On the same day I received a note from him saying he regretted not being able to attend."

Motorsport New Zealand is also re-considering certain events that were due to include Mosley's involvement, confirmed spokesman and FIA vice-president Morrie Chandler.