At the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics, Mosley said the tabloid’s claims had been “enormously damaging” and “completely untrue”.

He added that the article had so upset his family that his son Alexander relapsed into heavy drug use. Alexander died of an overdose in 2009 – but Mosley made clear that he did not directly blame the News of the World for that.

“For my sons to see pictures of their father in that sort of situation … he (Alexander) really couldn’t bear it,” Mosley told the inquiry.

“Like many people on hard drugs, it is extremely dangerous and you make a small mistake and you die and that is what happened.”

However, he did reveal that when he went to Alexander’s home to sort out belongings after his death, a pack of press arrived on the scene.

“When you are in a desperate situation, they have no feeling at all,” he added.

The now defunct Sunday tabloid had splashed a story on its front page in 2008 that claimed Mosley had taken part in a “sick Nazi orgy”.

Mosley said that the allegation was not only a “straightforward invasion of privacy, but the Nazi allegation was completely untrue”.

The Formula 1 boss took the paper to court over the article and won £60,000 in damages.

But he pointed out that most people are not fortunate enough to have the money to take such matters to court.

“I thought ‘If I don’t do it, who’s going to?’,” he said. “Because the number of people they pick on with a really bad case who have got the means to fight it is infinitesimally small.”