I think what's evolving is a grid where you have the 12 best drivers in the world and the 12 richest drivers in the world, or there or thereabouts.
In reply to this and Brogan 's points - wasn't it always thus? (This is possibly a completely separate thread)
The whole sport evolved from people who could a) afford a car or, b) afford to build their own car to go racing and c) afford to crash it. (see Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh)
In the 50's and 60's you had the garagistas vs the manufacturers in the 70's and 80's you had the rich playboys who wanted to drive fast, in the 90's and 00's they were still there but in fewer numbers and in the 10's? they have returned due to financial circumstances be it through sponsorship through the lower formulae or through the big bag marked $$ they throw at at team.
Whilst I acknowledge that some of these are seat blockers for the truly talented who don't have the cash, it's always happened and it always will, I'd love to have the 24 best drivers on the grid but the old adage remains, cash is king.
(I couldn't find a pay drivers thread, if there is one please move this there)