Interview: Roy Madden from F1 LinksHeaven

Interview: Roy Madden from F1 LinksHeaven

MicrophoneFollowing on from last weeks interview with Keith Collantine from F1Fanatic, we enjoy the musings of Roy Madden this time around. Roy founded and helps to run the F1 LinksHeaven site and has been a fan of the sport for many years. Starting out in 1997, Roy has worked hard at discussing just about everything related to F1 on the LinksHeaven forums, ran Fantasy F1 competitions and evolved his site from a collection of links to the well-visited multi-faceted site that it is today.

Read on to find out what changes Roy would make to F1 if he could, whether or not he remembers a driver who won lots of titles and lastly who he thinks will take the 2007 title.

1. I have only recently myself found out why LinksHeaven is called LinksHeaven. Perhaps you could let everyone else know why your F1 site has a seemingly odd name?

Way back in 1997 when I founded Linksheaven it was difficult to find F1 sites on the Internet. Most sites were amateur efforts, and you’d spend forever trying to find anything of interest. I pulled the links to all the various F1 sites together in my bookmarks, and I decided to list them on a webpage.

I guess at the time I never thought it would get as popular as it did, so “LinksHeaven” was the name I chose, without giving much consideration to it. 10 years later I mumble and groan about it, but secretly I think I like it (and I think many of our forum members like it) because it tends to attract only those “in the know”. I don’t frequent many other F1 sites because they tend to attract the driver bashing 15 year olds.

2. The blog element of LinksHeaven has come on a bit recently, providing visitors with a front page to read before heading inside. Do you see the blog developing over time or do you see the forums as the continuing future for LinksHeaven?

If there’s any passing bandwagon I’ll be sure to jump on it! Links has prospered over the years by providing things that the big commercial sites don’t – and 1.5 million visitors last year proves it. We have a lot of enthusiasts and the odd motor racing professional visiting Links who know way too much about the sport, so I suggested we give it a go. You can get news in several places, I’m trying to encourage people to stoke it up and if they have strong opinions, write them down.

3. Does any one particular F1 driver, team or even era stand out in your mind as special, or are you simply fascinated with the sport as a whole?

F1 is a soap opera of people, technology & history. I love it when you get that tingling feeling that you are witnessing some moment you know will be remembered for a long time – there’s been so many of them over the years I’ve been watching, Alesi’s win in Montreal, Jordan 1-2, Schumachers great wins, Hill in Hungary, Senna’s crash, Hakkinens pass at Spa, Mansell and Senna side by side.

4. If you could change just one part of Formula One for the better, what would it be and why?

TV coverage. It’s madness that individual countries use their own TV production teams to cover F1. There should be a professional F1 TV director and team who go to all the races, and there should be an international TV feed. If Japanese TV want to show Tamogatchi or whoever pottering around in last place then I’m sure a local feed can be provided also, but there is no need to inflict this on the rest of the world. We miss so much of the action on TV, and F1 suffers because of it.

5. To tie in with a recent post here at BlogF1, how do you think Michael Schumacher’s retirement will affect the future of Ferrari and Formula One?

Michael who? Oh, good answer Roy!

6. How do you see Formula One in ten years time? Will it still be as popular, will other racing series rival F1 more…?

Formula 1 is an international event, it’s not really “motorsport”. For example, billions of people will look at the Olympics, but that’s the only athletics they will watch every 4 years.

Same with F1. Most of the audience are there for the F1 “thing”, the fact it’s in cars is almost irrelevant. I think personally that some series have much better racing (MotoGP is amazing), but there will always be an F1 as long as Bernie keeps the consumer happy. People who argue about technical rule changes diminishing the “purity” of the sport forget that.

7. With the 2007 season fast approaching, and with many drivers changing teams, who do you see doing well this year and who do you see doing less well?

I’m fascinated by what happens at McLaren this year. They have amazing resources, the best driver and the best team boss – but they haven’t been delivering.

I’m not sure about Kimi at Ferrari, I have my suspicions about his attitude.

8. What can we expect from LinksHeaven in the coming weeks – is there anything in the pipeline you would like to share?

I’d like to mention that one of our forum members, John Edwards, is an amazingly talented racing driver who will be racing Formula Atlantic next year. John first came to our attention about 4 years ago and his progress has been spectacular since – I can’t wait to see how he gets on.

As for the site we’re going to launch our Fantasy F1 competitions soon. Good fun, easy to enter. I’m going to bully more people into writing for the blog. We will also have the usual hardcore F1 porn sections available only to members.

9. And finally, who do you think will win the Drivers Title this year, and if different, who would you like to see win the title?

It depends on the cars this year. I think Kimi will do it if McLaren can’t get their act together. With all the changes going on, Button might be a good outside bet (can’t believe I’m saying this).

Well, another great set of answers that made for great reading. I would like to thank Roy for taking the time out his busy schedule to indulge us all a little. I personally cannot wait to see the start of the Fantasy F1 competitions, although I didn’t do too well last year I seem to remember, but I blame the McLaren’s for that!

I’m still organising and typing up some of the other interviews at the moment, so next week’s slot is still to be decided, but the anticipation will good for everyone. If any Formula One or Motorsports site owner would like to be interviewed, feel free to drop me a line via the contact form, and if any readers have any burning questions they would like answered, leave a comment below. I cannot guarantee requests, but I’m more than willing to involve more people in this series.

I must thank all you guys and gals for the great feedback last week, and again extend my thanks to Roy for being a great interviewee.

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