FIA won’t punish Nico Rosberg after Belgian GP incident with Lewis Hamilton

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Citing a lack of new evidence, an FIA spokesman has confirmed that the sanctioning body will not punish Nico Rosberg over his early incident with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“The FIA will not intervene in this issue,” the spokesman said according to multiple reports. “Only a ‘new element’ that would have appeared after the results became final could justify us opening an investigation.

The spokesman also referred to Hamilton’s accusation that Rosberg admitted to hitting him on purpose: “A comment alleged to have been made in an internal briefing and later denied by the team itself does not constitute such a ‘new element’.”

Rosberg has also touched on both the incident and Hamilton’s remarks in a video blog.

“I’ve been told what Lewis said in the press and the way he has stated his version of the events,” Rosberg says according to Reuters. “All I can say is that my view of the events are very different.”

However, the German did not go about expressing his view on the blog post.

“The thing is it’s just better that I don’t now give all the details of my opinion and things like that,” he said. “I hope you respect that. I prefer to just keep it internal.”

Rosberg went on to finish second in Sunday’s race behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, while Hamilton failed to finish. But Hamilton has vowed that he will not be looking for payback when F1 resumes its season at the Italian Grand Prix on Sept. 7.

“The [Spa] weekend was damaging,” said Hamilton according to Britain’s Press Association. “I don’t know how I’m going to get back those 29 points, but what I do know is I’ve a great group of people behind me.

“The poor guys on my side of the garage have had quite a lot of bad races. But I know with their support and that of the fans, the fact we’ve a great car, a great team and we should be finishing one-two, I really hope I can bring them some good results moving forwards.

“Whatever the case, I will always put the team first and I won’t take anything into my own hands.”

As for the avoidance of potential future skirmishes with Rosberg, Hamilton said: “I’ll have to make sure we’re not wheel to wheel.”

Cooper solidifies PWC GT presence with Callaway Corvette

Callaway, Cooper, Gill. Photo: PWC
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Pirelli World Challenge could use a “face” of the series from a driving standpoint, and American Michael Cooper is a good candidate to fill that role for 2018.

Cooper, 27, has won PWC Touring Car, GTS and, most recently the SprintX GT titles within the series and has quickly blossomed into one of the series’ top GT stars.

It’s been a rapid rise for the Syosset, N.Y. native, entering into a world filled with series stars and champions such as Johnny O’Connell, Patrick Long, Alvaro Parente and a host of others.

But under O’Connell’s tutelage, Cooper admirably filled the rather gaping shoes vacated by Andy Pilgrim at Cadillac Racing, steering the Cadillac ATS-V.R to multiple race wins in the last two years – including a sweep of this year’s season finale weekend at Sonoma.

Cooper and Jordan Taylor were the model of consistency in SprintX this year, winning once at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and surviving contact at Circuit of The Americas to take that title.

With Cadillac withdrawing its ATS-V.R program at the end of the year though, Cooper was left a free agent for 2018. Fortunately with one door closed another opened, in the form of the GM-blessed but full Callaway Competition USA effort with its Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R that will come Stateside next year. Cooper and Daniel Keilwitz will be in the team’s two cars for the full season; the car was fully unveiled last week at the PRI Show in Indianapolis.

The Callaway is a proven commodity in Europe but couldn’t run in the U.S. unless the path was cleared by one of GM’s factory programs to end a direct, potential head-to-head competition.

Moving from the Cadillac to the Callaway Corvette should be a natural transition, Cooper said last week.

“It worked out incredibly well that GM decided to allow Calloway to run the car in the United States and it created an opportunity for me that wouldn’t have been there otherwise,” he told NBC Sports. “I talked to a lot of other GT teams and at the end of the day, I felt like this was the best direction for me to be competitive next year and to also continue furthering my career with General Motors.”

Indeed Cooper has graduated from the Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R in GTS to the Cadillac and now to the Callaway Corvette. Cooper hailed the Cadillac team for what they did for his career growth.

“Working with Cadillac Racing has been instrumental in developing my abilities both on and off the track,” he said. “So I’m definitely a much more well-rounded driver now and have a lot of experience in the World Challenge GT field, so I kind of know what to expect going into that first race and going into that first corner in St. Pete.”

As noted, the car’s success in Europe means it’s a well-oiled machine by the time Reeves Callaway has worked with PWC to bring it Stateside next year. And as Cooper explained, discussions had been underway for a bit of time to ensure his presence in this car and team.

“I think the car is going to be extremely capable. It’s already won championships and races in Europe. I think, in bringing it over here, we’re going to hit the ground running straight away,” he said.

“Calloway had wanted me to come drive for them in July or August. We always kept in touch since then, and there was a lot of work trying to put together a program before they decided that they were going to do a fully fledged factory program. So once they made that decision, I think the pieces were kind of in place already, and the conversations had been had to be able to say ‘You’re going to be our guy.’”

December is late for IMSA programs to get finalized, but it’s relatively early for PWC, with the season not starting until mid-March in St. Petersburg. An extensive testing program should follow, as Callaway establishes its U.S. base and infrastructure.

“It’s definitely early for a Pirelli World Challenge program to be announced in December when we start racing in March. So that’s very good,” he said. “But, the team has a lot of work ahead of them in terms of getting infrastructure set up here in the United States, because a lot of their racing program has been in Europe. So, there will be a testing program, but they have to get the infrastructure in place first. But, we’ll be well prepared for St. Pete, I’m certain of it.

“Last year was the first year when I could sit back, kick my feet up, and know what I was doing next year. So, to be able to have everything done and be able to announce it this early on makes my life less stressful and now I can just focus on preparing myself and my team for next year.”