PEOPLE: DAVE WASS

Name: Dave Wass
Nationality: Great Britain

Wass was still a teenager when he started with BRM in the early 1960s at Bourne in Lincolnshire. He learned the design trade from famous F1 designers Tony Rudd, Len Terry and Tony Southgate - who followed one another at BRM - and studied mechanical engineering in his spare time, gaining the necessary certificates. He stayed with the team until it was liquidated in 1974. He then followed Southgate to Shadow in Northampton and worked with him until 1976 when Tony left to join Team Lotus. Wass took over the design of the Shadow DN8. Southgate returned the following year but at the end of 1977 the two engineers, Jackie Oliver, Alan Rees and others quit Shadow and established the new Arrows F1 team in Bletchley. Wass was the "W" in the Arrows name and he and Southgate produced the early Arrows chassis together - including the FA1 which the British High Court ruled was an illegal copy of the Shadow DN9. Southgate stayed with the team until 1980 and then Wass was left in charge of Arrows design. He produced a string of straightforward but underfunded cars which did moderately well. The team's first composite chassis - the BMW turbo-engined A8 - scored 14 points in 1985, the team's best season to that point.

The A9 was a disaster. Arrows had done a deal with British Aerospace to produce the chassis but a strike meant that the car was very late arriving. It lacked torsional rigidity. Wass left the team and moved to Benetton to concentrate on gearbox design, a specialization he particularly enjoyed, working with Rory Byrne, Pat Symonds and Paul Crooks. This team was broken up when Flavio Briatore decided to hire John Barnard. Wass moved to Cosworth for a few months and then joined Byrne and Symmonds working on the Reynard F1 project. When this was called off in the summer of 1991 they all returned to Benetton and Wass was put in charge of transmission design.

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