With F1's return to the region this weekend in Abu Dhabi and the appearance of the Crown Prince of Bahrain in the Yas Marina paddock on Saturday, the ongoing civil unrest in the nearby Bahrain has once again raised questions on the future of the Grand Prix at Sakhir's International Circuit.

The event was cancelled last year because of security concerns, but went ahead in 2012 despite huge controversy and protests about the ethics of the sport appearing to support the local government during a time of wide-scale unrest in the country.

Even though the event itself went off without a hitch - with the circuit, teams and drivers all safely cocooned by a huge security operation - it was nonetheless viewed as a major public relations own-goal for F1.

But speaking in the paddock of the Yas Marina Circuit on Friday, Bernie Ecclestone brushed aside a new wave of questions and speculation about whether the race would go ahead next year given that the unrest is still continuing.

"I wasn't concerned this year and I'm not concerned for next year," said the F1 supremo, saying that he had every confidence that next year's race scheduled for April 21

Ecclestone even hinted that a new Grand Prix in the region might be possible, after rumours that neighbouring Qatar is interested in holding a Grand Prix in addition to their current MotoGP season-opening floodlit event.

"Let's see," said Ecclestone when asked if a Qatar GP was a possibility. "Let's see what comes out of it."

Meanwhile Ecclestone was cool about the speculation that the French Grand Prix might be back on the 2013 calendar after the decision to postpone the inaugural New Jersey left a gap on the calendar.

"Who knows, everything is possible with me, you know that," said Ecclestone at his most sphinx-like. But he was distinctly more effusive when it came to talking about this weekend's race at Abu Dhabi.

"I love it here," he admitted. "All the teams love it here. Everyone is very happy.

"This is without any doubt the best circuit we've got," he added, saying that it needed to become a role model and benchmark by which all other modern Grand Prix venues should be compared to. "It's not inexpensive to make something like this, so we have to be a bit careful."