For most FIDE events there is a formal bidding process where what must be included in the bid, how much the proposers have to pay FIDE as a non-refundable bid fee, etc. is laid out formally. Here, for instance is the Call for Bids – FIDE World Championships 2023 which came out on 1st December 2022:
CALL FOR BIDS
FIDE EVE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2023
Deadline 10th of January 2023
- World Junior Chess Championships 2023
- World Senior Team Chess Championships 2023
- World Amateur Chess Championships 2023
- World Youth U-16 Chess Olympiad 2023
but no mention of THE world championships.
Then on January 12 2023 we had CALL FOR BIDS FIDE EVE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2023 ENDED in which it was announced that
- Italy, Malta, Thailand and North Macedonia had bid for the World Seniors
- Montenegro and Mexico had bid for the World Juniors
- Oman and Italy had bid for the World Amateurs
- Holland and Kazakhstan had bid for the U16 Olympiad
So, these low key (compared to the World Championships) events can be sorted out very quickly. Meanwhile the bidding process for the real World Championships seems to be much more opaque. I couldn't find any formal bid requirements.
According to the Chess24.com article Dvorkovitch said in November that:
Mexico is the main contender, but there are a couple more interested parties who can compete. We will make a decision within a month. We will make a decision by the end of this year
The latest from FIDE's Communications Manager David Llada:
There had been an opportunity to host the World Championship match in Mexico. The project presented to us was not limited to just holding the match, but also organizing a massive festival with multiple events. Altogether, this could have been the single largest funded chess event in history. This possibility was so appealing that we decided to postpone our decision and give the Mexican promoters some extra time. However, this ambitious plan hasn't materialized yet, and we are now considering alternative proposals
The impression FIDE give is that they are very relaxed about this. Whether that is really true is hard to tell. However the experience of Covid has changed a lot in the world. The last world championships was originally scheduled for 2020 but ended up being delayed until 2021.
FIDE, having had that experience 3 years ago of delaying the match may very well be more prepared to do so again if what they consider a suitable bid doesn't emerge in time.
Three years ago the force majeur driving them was Covid. This time round it is the Ukraine war which seriously disrupted the cycle. Without that war and with a Russian contestant Moscow would have been more than eager to host the match on generous terms and with a Russian FIDE president that would have been the strong favourite. Now that is not possible.
The 2020 world championships was not the only major FIDE event to be delayed. Revisions to the FIDE Laws of Chess normally happen on a 4-yearly schedule. The last major revision was in 2017 with a minor update in 2018. The latest revision was due in 2021 (maybe 2022 at the latest) but didn't appear until this year.
If no suitable, acceptable (to FIDE and the players) bid emerges in time the match will be delayed. There are plenty of precedents and reasonable excuses for doing so.
Update: With just 78 days to go FIDE announce that Astana, Kazakhstan have won the bid to hold the championships with a bid of €2 million. More information on the Chess24 website. They point out that Kazakhstan is a neutral country which borders both China (Liren's country) and Russia (Nepomniatchi's country) making it sound the obvious choice.