A leading Formula 1 boss is facing claims that he dismissed an employee on the grounds of his sexual orientation.

Peter Boland, 27, is also claiming unfair dismissal and victimisation against Ron Dennis, the McLaren chief, and three of his companies; McLaren Group Ltd, Absolute Taste and Greyscape.

Mr Dennis and the three companies deny all the allegations.

Mr Boland, who worked as a steward for Mr Dennis aboard his private jet, was sacked in May 2007 at the team’s headquarters in Woking after five years of service.

The company claim he fell asleep while on duty aboard a flight, and had made a number of other mistakes, including wrongly addressing Sheik Mohammed.

At an initial hearing last year, Mr Boland told a Southampton tribunal that Mr Dennis had acted noticeably differently around him after the rumours about Mr Boland’s sexuality began to spread in 2005.

He said: “Having to explain that I was not gay was extremely embarrassing for all concerned.”

Mr Boland said he was offered £8,000 as a settlement in June 2007 but refused and decided to take the case to the Southampton tribunal hearing.

There has been speculation that F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton may be called to give evidence regarding the claims against the McLaren boss.

The tribunal is expected to last two weeks.