Formula 1 chiefs will decide before the season-opening race in Australia about whether or not the Bahrain Grand Prix will be slotted into the calendar later this year.
There have been suggestions that the race could be rescheduled for the end of the campaign, possibly as a doubleheader with the nearby Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
F1's commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone said on Tuesday that he has agreed with governing body, the FIA, that a final decision on the matter will be made in the next few weeks, as he even hinted about Bahrain getting slotted into the August summer break.
"To do that the FIA has to change the calendar, and Bahrain has to apply for a new slot," Ecclestone said. "The FIA World Council will meet at the beginning of March and could look into the situation. I have already spoken with FIA President Jean Todt about the possibility of finding a new date and we both agreed that a decision has to be made before the season starts."
He added: "If the Crown Prince (HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, event organizer) is of the opinion that his country is able to host a race, we will return to Bahrain. I think the teams are sensible enough even to race in Bahrain in the summer break, despite high temperatures, because this is the way we can support the country."
Ecclestone also hit back at accusations that he and the FIA had not acted responsibility in canceling the Bahrain Grand Prix as soon as it became clear about how much political trouble there was. When asked if he should have called off the event earlier, Ecclestone said: "No. That was not possible. Shortly before the crisis I had lunch with the Crown Prince and there was absolutely no indication of what would come just days after. He was full of ideas for the future then shortly after the chain of events set in. There was almost no time to react.
"Of course, we needed a decision by Feb. 21, and that is what I told him. He asked what I would do if I were him, and I answered, 'You are there. We in Europe are hardly in the situation to make a serious judgment of the conditions. Decide what is best for your country'. He then canceled the race and I think it was the right decision.
"It was not an easy one, as it was Formula 1 that put Bahrain on the map. Before 2004, when Formula 1 raced there for the first time, not many people knew Bahrain."
Speaking about the fact that he and the FIA had deliberately kept out of the politics of the situation, Ecclestone said: "Formula 1 must never be political, period. My job is it to do the best deals possible for Formula 1 – to secure jobs. Five thousand people have jobs which are directly or indirectly connected to Formula 1, and I want to secure these jobs. It is not my business to make politics. We have politicians for that."