It was time for Tony to leave. The IRL needs fresh leadership if it is ever going to survive and Indy needs to modernize the event to be relevant again in the eyes of American and world motorsports.
I’ve always been critical of George. The IRL-CART split was a disaster which he was one of the main instigators. This he one of the main people responsible for destroying open wheel racing in America. For many people like me who are old CART fans, we will never forgive him for that.
However he revitalized Indy with a remarkable makeover of the circuit and tried to make the track a international center of motorsports. There was successes (the NASCAR race,) disappointments (the MotoGP race last year barely making a profit,) and disasters (U.S. Grand Prix.)
As much as I don’t like the guy for what he did to open racing in the states, I have some sympathy for him because the way that FOM and the FIA treated him. This was a man whose company put tens of millions into updating the track and bringing a F1 event to the states, only for the sport to treat him and motorsports fans in the states like crap. 2002 was a joke; however the 2005 race will always be remembered as an unmitigated disaster for F1 over here in America.
The repercussions can still be felt as no-one in the United States wants to host an F1 race. Everyone saw what happened at Indy and does not want any part of Formula One. Frankly no race organizer in the states is stupid enough to cave into Bernie and Max for their ridiculous, extortionistic, and apparatchik ways of running a racing series. After all, why put your butt on the line when the FIA and FOM will treat you in the same way which they treated Indy in 2005?
Say what you want about the IRL, but at least the tracks and teams focus on the fans and keep the racing front and center. These and many other things are apart of the complex legacy of Mr. George's tenure at IMS.I hope with both Max Mosley and Tony George leaving their respective jobs, it will bring the same thing to both the IRL and Formula One that they desprately need; fresh blood and ideas to make the sport more relevant to their audiences.