Motorsport boss Max Mosley has said Lewis Hamilton could have a negative effect on Formula One if he is as successful next year as he was in 2007.
Hamilton has been a phenomenon in his first season in F1
"If he does the same thing next season as he's done this season, it will certainly have a big effect," he said.
"It will start to be negative because we'll get the Schumacher effect where people start writing to me saying can't you do something to slow him down."
Mosley added that Hamilton's role in revitalising F1 had been exaggerated.
"He has certainly helped enormously in the UK," said Mosley, the president of governing body the FIA, in an interview with the BBC's Hardtalk programme.
"He's also got a lot of interest worldwide because he's come manifestly not from a rich background. He's just made it.
"There is always somebody new. If it wasn't him it would be either [Nico] Rosberg or [Robert] Kubica or one of the other new stars, a [Sebastian] Vettel, would suddenly be the big one.
"So I think there is a tendency to exaggerate the importance of Lewis Hamilton."
It would be surprising if Hamilton didn't know something of what was going on [in spy-gate], but I've got absolutely no evidence that he had
Mosley added that it was "very unlikely" that Hamilton would be installed as champion following a hearing next month into the results of the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix.
McLaren have appealed against the decision not to punish the Williams and BMW Sauber teams for having fuel that was too cold.
If McLaren are successful in having their three points-scoring drivers excluded, Hamilton could be moved up in the results to fourth, giving him enough points to displace Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen as world champion.
But Mosley said: "It could happen, absolutely, because this will go to a court of appeal.
"It consists of very senior lawyers who are not connected with any of the countries involved in the events, so not Britain, not Italy and so on. It's an independent court. It can decide.
"That said, it's very unlikely, because even if they excluded those cars they are not obliged to reclassify Hamilton. There's absolutely no need, if they don't wish to, to change the position that Hamilton was in."
Mosley described the 2007 season as "very positive, on the whole", despite the controversies that plagued the sport, because "although the behind-the-scenes stuff was annoying for us and the people concerned, for the public it really adds to the general interest".
One of those controversies was the "spy-gate" saga, when Hamilton's McLaren team were fined $100m (£49.2m) and thrown out of the constructors' championship after being found guilty of possessing confidential Ferrari technical information.
There was a thrilling three-way title climax this season
Mosley said McLaren's 2008 car would be closely scrutinised by the FIA to ensure the team had not included any Ferrari ideas on it.
"That [Ferrari data] was in the hands of the chief designer at precisely the moment he was designing the 2008 McLaren," Mosley said.
"The difficulty we have is that you're not going to find on the McLaren a part that was designed by Ferrari.
"What you may find are ideas and at this level of technology at this level of motorsport, if the idea is given to the chief designer he will make a component utilising that idea which bears no relation at all to the component perhaps being used by the other car.
"So we will be looking for the ideas. The investigation will be thorough, it will use outside experts and we will do everything we possibly can to make sure that either of the McLarens has no element of Ferrari intellectual property in it or if it does we will then have to consider taking some sort of action.
"That would not necessarily be preventing them from running. It would be more likely that they would be given a negative point allocation.
"Finding something will not be easy. On the other hand, there are sources we are going to deploy who will give us as good a chance as its possible to have to find it."
Asked if he thought Hamilton had known more about the Ferrari information being in McLaren's possession than has come out in public, Mosley said: "He's not a known quantity to me.
"It would be surprising if he didn't know something of what was going on, but I've got absolutely no evidence that he had. On that basis it would be wrong of me to suggest that he had."
Mosley's remarks are the latest in a series of provocative comments about McLaren this season.
The FIA president is known to have a difficult relationship with McLaren boss Ron Dennis, dating back more than 20 years.
A McLaren spokeswoman said the team were reviewing the entire content of the interview before deciding whether to comment.