Lotus Principal Eric Boullier has admitted that the Enstone team could lose out on the signature of Nico Hulkenberg if the Quantum deal isn't secured.
While Quantum Motorsports chiefs remain confident that a deal for a 35 percent stake in Lotus will be finalized soon, Lotus remain in the dark as to when the money will arrive.
Hulkenberg is one of the favourites to partner Romain Grosjean next season following the departure of Kimi Raikkonen to Ferrari, but the Sauber driver has previously admitted that he doesn't want to risk his prospects for 2014 by waiting too long to secure a move away.
The German is also believed to be under pressure from both Sauber and Force India - another team interested in acquiring his services for next season and beyond - to decide his future, while Lotus risks missing out on alternative Pastor Maldonado, as well as his Venezuelan financiers, if they don't make a decision soon.
Although Boullier has maintained throughout that Hulkenberg is his preferred choices to partner Grosjean, the Lotus boss admitted that he wouldn't begrudge him choosing a different team if Lotus are unable to complete the deal.
"He would like to join us and we would like to have him on board," Boullier confirmed to Autosport.
"I believe pairing him with Grosjean, it would be one of the best pairings in the pitlane, and a very affordable one - if I may say this!
"I understand his position as well because he had a very bad experience when he was dropped by Williams, and he doesn't want to be in the same situation.
"So I cannot blame him to sign or to commit to someone else if we are late with the timing."
Boullier added that there are no guarantees that the deal with Quantum will happen at all, but hinted that the week leading up to the Brazilian Grand Prix would be crucial for the team's long term plans.
"I've had a promise. So, for the team, for [team owner] Genii, for everybody, it would be great to have this completed," Boullier continued.
"I hope so. It's what I've been told.
"It will be a great reward for the team [if it happens], but also a great reward for Genii Capital who believe in our team and have pushed very hard for the last four years.
"Having this completed, money wise, we would be safe for more than a couple of years.
"You can then work on a proper strategy to establish the team and make everyone in the team reassured about the future."
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