Hockenheim's place on the Formula One calendar - and, indeed, its very future - will not now be decided for a couple of months, after Bernie Ecclestone agreed to meet with circuit officials in May.

A meeting on Wednesday, involving the local Baden-W?rttemberg council, postponed a decision on the venue's fate once it became apparent that circuit officials had secured a head-to-head with the sport's commercial guru - but insisted that it may only be input for Ecclestone that saves its place on the F1 schedule as financial worries continue to take hold.

"At the moment, [losing the race] is not only conceivable, but quite a realistic scenario," circuit boss Karl-Josef Schmidt admitted to Reuters.

Ecclestone's reaction to the ongoing problems at Hockenheim have varied from admitting that he would not be so naive as to let a race promoter go to the wall to insisting that the matter of saving the venue is out of his hands.

A meeting of any sort, therefore, is clearly a step in the right direction for Hockenheim - which is due to return to the F1 fold in 2010 according to its race-share with the Nurburgring - although local mayor Dieter Gummer, whose constituency holds a majority stake in the circuit, admits that a decision needs to be reached by the summer.

May's pow-wow is slated to also include the state premier of Rheinland-Pfalz, as well as representatives from German manufacturers BMW and Mercedes, who will no doubt be concerned if Germany slips off the calendar, as would be the case should Hockenheim not be abl to fulfil its commitment in 2010.

Nurburgring boss Walter Kafitz has ruled his circuit out of stepping in as a replacement next season, because it could not afford to host the grand prix every year.



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