TCF PICKS 2017: Team of the year


Following on from our competitor of the year picks for the 2017 season we take a look at the teams that made things happen for the drivers and riders.


Sahara Force India F1 Team

Credit: Sahara Force India F1 Team

The improvements made by Force India moved it up to fourth in the Formula 1 ranks in 2017.

This surge was well-deserved, the only disappointment being that no silverware came of the campaign despite some very near misses.

It was not without its strife in 2017, however. Could the team have even grabbed a victory? It may well have happened at Azerbaijan, but for its two drivers colliding in clumsy fashion prior to a fiery exchange between the title rivals ahead.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s relationship became frosty after further collisions during the latter half of the season, but the team can be applauded for letting its drivers compete for every spot until it needed calming measures.

– Dan Mason / Tom Jeffries / Craig Venn / Aaron Gillard


Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Another year, another season of domination by Mercedes as they claimed the Drivers and Constructor’s Championships.

They had to work hard for it this time though. Ferrari were back and for the first half of the season they were in control. Mercedes refused to give up and were rewarded as Ferrari began to struggle with mechanical and driver issues.

The Silver Arrows stayed calm and used their extensive knowledge and experience of winning championships. Hamilton won another title and Bottas picked up three victories in his debut season with the team.

– Josh Close / Megan Cantle / Tim Lumb


PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden

Petter Solberg in the PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden Polo GTi at Loheac. Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

The team was announced as an entrant in the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship back in January and with Petter Solberg’s PSRX outfit now aligned with Volkswagen Motorsport backing, this was an intriguing prospect. Add in the best possible lineup of Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson as team-mates and there lies a recipe for success.

Fast forward to November and the team has taken eight wins out of twelve events (Seven to Kristoffersson and One for Solberg), Kristoffersson sealed his first Drivers Title in Latvia during the same weekend that Solberg Team took its first ever Teams Title as well.

To think that in January 2017, Solberg’s plan was clear: To secure the Teams title and Drivers Title. Mission accomplished Petter!

– Phil Kinch / Tommaso Zurli


M-Sport World Rally Team

Credit: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

Malcolm Wilson’s Cockermouth-based team continued to do wonders without full backing from Ford as they secured the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in the FIA World Rally Championship in the new generation of machinery.

Following the shock announcement that the all-dominant force of Volkswagen would be pulling out of WRC at the end of the 2016 season, M-sport managed to secure the services of the best current rally duo of Sébastien Ogier and Jullian Ingrassia, along with this the addition of Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja and Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt. This trio of cars took five victories through the season against the manufacturer might of Hyundai who took four wins.

As a result of their performances last season (and their heroic efforts in the past seasons), M-sport have done enough for 2018 to ensure the return of the Ford name to the manufacturers entry list.

– Vince Pettit


Scuderia Ferrari

Credit: Ferrari

By producing a car that has rivalled the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team all season, they put some competition back into F1!

– Rachel Hack


ART Grand Prix

Credit: Alastair Staley/GP3 Series Media Service

The team claimed their seventh Teams’ Championship Title in the eighth running of the championship and helped George Russell to the Drivers’ Championship. In addition Russell’s team-mates Jack Aitken, Nirei Fukuzumi and Anthoine Hubert completed the top four of the championship and were the only drivers to finish within 100 points of Russell’s benchmark tally.

– Chloe Hewitt


Team BMR

Credit: BTCC Media

It’s fair to say that Team BMR’s Subaru BTCC project didn’t start too well in 2016 as they struggled to break into the top ten early on and were forced to withdraw from the Thruxton weekend on safety grounds, but the team fought back well and six race wins would set them up nicely for 2017.

The loss of Colin Turkington was a blow, but in only his second year in the BTCC, Ashley Sutton stepped up and took on the role of team leader, with a sensational performance seeing him take the Hertfordshire-based squad to their first BTCC title.

While there were grumbles in the paddock at times about the boost of the Subaru’s engine, the BMR engineering team led by the highly rated Carl Faux turned the unique Levorg into one of the strongest packages on the grid, allowing Sutton to fully showcase his immense talent.

Alongside the champion the team also guided Jason Plato and James Cole to race victories, while with rookie Josh Price also being a front-runner in the Jack Sears Trophy, it was a strong showing all round as BMR wrote their names into the BTCC record books.

– Simon Paice


Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Credit: Craig McAllister

At the start of the 2017 season, Herve Poncharal was at risk of losing his title sponsor who were unconvinced by his new rookie pairing. Those fears were a distant memory within seconds of the opening round as Johann Zarco stormed into an early lead on his MotoGP debut, shocking the motorsport world. The Frenchman has since gone on to take his maiden pole position, multiple podium finishes and came within a lap of winning the final race of the season at Valencia.

Jonas Folger has had his fair share of highlights too, setting the fastest lap in Barcelona before pushing Marc Marquez to the limit at the Sachsenring, even having his home fans dreaming of a fairy-tale victory. Illness may have cut Jonas’ season short but along with his team-mate, he has demonstrated that the future of MotoGP is in safe hands. We have Herve Poncharal and Tech 3 to thank for that.

– Louis Suddaby


Kawasaki Racing Team

Jonathan Rea at Jerez Test
Credit: Kawasaki

Absolute dominance throughout the season, and a well deserved constructors trophy to add to the collection.

– Emily Macbeth


Carlin

Lando Norris celebrates with his Carlin team his championship triumph – Credit: FIA Formula 3 European Championship

The British-based squad has done what many thought they could not and emulated their Prema Powerteam rivals in European F3 by stealing the drivers title. Not only that, but they proved to be the team to beat in almost every series they entered. British F3 / F4 and picking up the Freedom 100 in Indy Lights. Their entry into IndyCar next season (with former Carlin graduates) could just be the start of an international adventure for the outfit.

– Connor Jackson


JMW Motorsport

Credit: Craig Robertson

Silverstone ELMS netted fifth place in a car which BOP didn’t favor at all. After all, it was the old car and teams who invested in the newer cars should have the better shot right? So the team acquired a 488 GTE to replace the aging 458. Still, the old girl deserved on last dance and round 2 of the ELMS was at Monza, where better to give it another run out and send it off to retirement.

The team arrive at Monza with a car already eligable for historic racing and at the cars home, in front of the Tifosi, send the car off with a win.

Not content with that thought the team arrive at Le Mans with a brand new 488 GTE, never raced, barely shaken down and all together an unknown quantity. They put it up against a class filled with more professionalism and speed than any Am class should have, and win again!

Only once this year did a JMW car hit the track without bringing home a trophy and despite starting with the wrong car, they claimed the ELMS GT title.

– Nick Smith


Team Penske

Josef Newgarden took his first Penske pole at Sonoma – Credit: Chris Owens / IndyCar

There were six contenders for the Verizon IndyCar Series title in the season finale at Sonoma Raceway, and four of them were from Team Penske. Josef Newgarden took the title in his first year with the team, while Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Helio Castroneves were all race winners, pole-sitters and fastest lap setters!

The team continued to gel with their Chevrolet engine and aero kits – they were the only Chevy team to take the chequered flag first all year long – but they will possibly find it harder going next year when the series switches to a spec-aero kit, and will expand into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

But for 2017, they were THE team to beat.

– Paul Hensby


Renault e.dams

Credit: Zak Mauger/LAT/Formula E

They continued their utter domination of Formula E in 2016/2017 and remain as the only outfit to have won the team’s championship. They have consistently shown themselves to be the leaders in electric technology, despite the increased competition from the likes of Audi, Jaguar and DS. Their success makes their decision to leave Formula E at the end of the 2017/2018 season all the more baffling, as they are set to hand the reigns of the team over to Nissan – something their competitors are no doubt thankful for.

– Scott Douglas


Furniture Row Racing

Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Despite being one of the smaller, underdog teams of the NASCAR Cup Series, Furniture Row Racing have been the class of the field in 2017 along with championship contender Martin Truex Jr and his rookie team-mate Erik Jones. They only switched over to Toyota as a Manufacturer a year ago, and despite having to also field a second car for the first time this season, it has been an incredible season for the former underdogs turned championship favourites.

– Jordan Groves