|Bahrain was all set for the season-opener until political unrest led to the postponement of the race [GALLO/GETTY]
The organisers of the postponed Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix have been given until May 1 to decide if a new date can be set, following a meeting by sport’s governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
The Bahrain GP was originally scheduled to be the season-opening Formula One race on March 13, but was cancelled last month by Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa after anti-government protests in the country.
"The World Motor Sport Council asked the Bahrain Motor Federation to communicate by May 1 at the latest if the Bahrain Grand Prix can be organised in 2011," FIA said in a statement.
The championship will now start in Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix on March 27.
Formula One head Bernie Ecclestone has said he is keen to reschedule the Bahrain race, providing the situation has calmed down, with a likely date towards the end of the season.
"We'll have a look and see what we can do, how we can swap things round a bit," the Briton said last week.
"Maybe we can change with Brazil or something like that."
Brazil is scheduled to end the season on November 27, after the penultimate race in Abu Dhabi.
"If there's peace in Bahrain, we'll be there," added Ecclestone who had called for a decision to be made before the season starts and ruled out an alternative round in Europe.
The FIA also announced that F1 teams will get to test an extra set of dry weather and prime tires at certain races.
The FIA's motor sport council, meeting in Paris, tweaked the rules to allow new sole supplier Pirelli a chance to try out new types of tyre while adhering to a ban on testing during the season.
The FIA said an additional specification of dry weather tyres and of 'prime' tyres could be made available to teams at certain events for evaluation purposes and used in Friday practice only.
"Teams will be informed about such an additional specification at least one week before the start of the relevant event," the FIA added added.
Pirelli has taken over from Bridgestone as Formula One's supplier this year but has had limited opportunities to test the tyres on 2011 specification cars with just four pre-season tests with the teams in Spain since the New Year.
The FIA also announced when the safety car is deployed its speed limit during races will now be enforced over two laps instead of one.
"The purpose is to ensure that cars are driven at a safe speed until they reach the safety car,'' the FIA said.
"Other than when the safety car has been asked to use the pit lane, no car may enter the pits while the safety car is deployed unless it is for the purpose of changing tires.''