International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley told Reuters that the governing body was prepared to flex its muscles.
"We are looking very carefully at possibly using powers that we have under the Concorde Agreement to reduce the performance of the cars," he said, referring to the confidential accord governing the sport.
"If we conclude that the cars are too fast, then we can give notice to the teams under the Concorde Agreement which requires the technical working group to come up with proposals for slowing the cars," he said.
"And they have to do that within a limited time. If they don't come up with the proposals, we have the right to impose something."
Mosley said that could be done before the end of the season.
Lap times have speeded up considerably this year, with Ferrari's Michael Schumacher qualifying on pole in Malaysia four seconds quicker than the best time set by Spaniard Fernando Alonso in a Renault in 2003.
The FIA is concerned that cars are taking corners far faster than in the past, with clear safety implications.
"I think a lot of it is down to tyres and varying fuel loads, track temperatures and all sorts of factors," said Mosley.
"A lot of the teams have given us very accurate data. We can compare speeds, particularly in the high speed corners, with a year ago and that enables us to do it quite accurately."
Mosley said that if the technical working group was asked to come up with a solution, then they had to propose measures within two months.
"If they don't do this adequately, in our judgement obviously, then we give the technical working group three alternative packages of measures and they have to choose one of the three."
Renault's Jarno Trulli was one of several Formula One drivers who called at the Malaysian Grand Prix for something to be done about speeds.
"Normally as racing drivers we are happy to go faster but now the cars are too fast," said the Italian. "It's something that the technical people have to sort out."
Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn said, however, that the jury was still out.
"In 2006 there is a fairly major change coming in the design of the cars to reduce the speeds," he said in Bahrain. "Whether or not the speeds have improved more than we anticipated is difficult to be sure of."
Brawn said the best way to cut speeds was to reduce engine performance rather than adding more grooves to tyres or controlling the compounds available.