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Lotus still hoping for Quantum deal

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Lotus say they still have faith in would-be investors Quantum Motorsports coming up with the long-awaited money despite continuing delays to a deal.

The Formula One team announced in June the sale of a 35 percent stake to a consortium of private investors, including an Abu Dhabi-based multinational group, that would put them on a secure financial footing.

The group, led by U.S.-based businessman Mansoor Ijaz, subsequently changed its name from Infinity Racing to Quantum while Lotus also revealed that the deal had yet to be completed.

Ijaz told reporters at this month's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that the deal had been completed from his side but, three weeks later and with the final race of the season in Brazil on Sunday, Lotus are still waiting and paddock skepticism is increasing.

"There is still some discussion ongoing especially now between bankers," team principal Eric Boullier told a news conference at Interlagos.

"The process is not fully completed but I think part of it has been done which is obviously a good sign for the weekend and we hope that everything is closed by early next week."

Asked what proof he had of Quantum's assets, and what due diligence had been carried out, the Frenchman said Lotus had "very serious proof of funds and good compliance of what is Quantum Motorsport".

The investment, or lack of it, will determine which drivers the team can afford to sign for 2014. The team are holding off on any contracts until they know what resources they have.

Lotus have made Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, currently with Sauber, their prime target while Frenchman Romain Grosjean is set to stay.

However if the Quantum money does not come through, the team are likely to look for another driver who can bring financial backing with him - such as Venezuela's oil-backed Pastor Maldonado.

Maldonado is leaving Williams and has also been strongly linked to Sauber.

"Obviously you need to have the right package to get the right driver. But obviously sometimes the right driver is with the right package," said Boullier.

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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