Lewis Hamilton might be poised to take delivery of a custom-built £25,000 Factor 001, as an F1 parts supplier diversifies into the increasingly technological world of cycle racing.
Motorsport engineering specialists BERU F1 Systems - which supplies parts to Hamilton's McLaren team amongst others in the top flight - has designed what it claims will be 'the world's most advanced bike', and is keen to see the reigning world champion become its first high-profile owner.
The Factor 001 is constructed mainly from carbon fibre and, when the first production model rolls out of the BERU base in Norfolk, should also feature innovative braking and cabling solution, as well as trick electronics, to complement its feather-light 7kg weight. The team intends to fit carbon ceramic brakes and a fully integrated 'Wire-in-Composite' system - where brake wires and gear cables are built into the frame - as well as a data collection package to monitor rider performance.
"I am very pleased that what started as a 'clean sheet' design exercise to showcase our expertise in composites and electronics has delivered such a beautifully styled, scientific training device," BERU MD John Bailey told the local Diss Express
Should Hamilton desire one of the hi-tec machines, he would have to find time to travel to Norfolk as each Factor 001 is 'custom-fit' product.
"The bike is made-to-measure to the millimetre and customers will need to go to the BERU factory to have their own F1-style 'seat fit'," spokesperson Claire Dumbreck confirmed, "So, if Lewis wants a bike that fits his dimensions perfectly, then that is what he would have to do."
Hamilton, meanwhile, has admitted that he will need more than £25,000 bike if he is to repeat as F1 world champion this season, having dropped a long way behind current points leader Jenson Button after struggling through the first half of the season.
While Button was putting his own cycling expertise to the test in the weekend's London Triathlon - a challenge he famously laid down to his British rival last season - Hamilton was in India, ruminating on his chances of further F1 success in 2009 during a promotional visit for one of McLaren's sponsors.
"We've to win all seven races to have a fighting chance of winning [the title]," he told reporters in Delhi, "We've more improvements coming, we've to just keep pushing and who knows what's going to happen. You're seeing the other teams starting to struggle a little bit, but I think to catch Jenson is gonna be very, very hard. He's already on 70 points and the maximum I can now achieve is 89, so he only has to have something like two-and-half points per race, and it should be easy for him to stay ahead of me."
After winning last time out on the sinuous Hungaroring in Budapest, Hamilton admitted that the most he could shoot for this season was to add to his tally of race victories as McLaren continues to develop the MP4-24 ahead of a renewed title assault in 2010. Button, meanwhile, will hope to carry his triathlon success into F1 battle when the season resumes in Spain in a fortnight's time. The Brawn GP driver is currently 18.5 points ahead of Mark Webber, with Sebastian Vettel a further four-and-a-half points adrift. Hamilton lies eighth on 19 points.
"I don't know what's going to happen in the next race in Valencia," he mused, "I had a great race there last year, so, hopefully we'll be competitive."