I have to ask : Is anyone actually surprised by the number of teams threatening to walk away from F1?
I always thought that this was the inevitable path that the sport would take once the manufacturer teams became the majority amongst constructors.
In my teenage years, Ferrari were the only car manufacturer involved in F1 as a constructor : All other teams were privateers.
During 1996, the International Touring Car Championship collapsed, as the car manufacturers that were supplying the championship realised that the cost/benefit ratio of competing in the championship wasn't sufficient to justify their continued participation. For me, this was lesson number one in what happens when running a championship that is overly reliant upon the whims of corporations who are primarily involved as a form of self-advertisement.
Slowly but surely, manufacturers started buying their way onto the formula one grid, throwing money at problems that their engineers could not fix (which soaked up huge sums as the field struggled to keep up with the mighty Schumacher/Ferrari powerhouse).
For a while, this appeared to be great for formula one. The sport found itself revelling in an era of unprecedented popularity and wealth, however this could only last as long as the good times kept rolling : As soon as the consumer started tightening their belts, the corporations bankrolling the teams would have to do likewise.
Considering that the Red Bull teams became involved for a similar reason to the car manufacturers (advertising) and have also been fairly lavish with their spending, albeit in a different way (running a double team for double exposure), their relative lack of success indicates that direct corporate ownership simply pushes up the costs whilst the overall benefit will always remain the same (although Red Bull are certainly getting better value for money than Toyota, simply through the additional exposure that 2 teams will inevitably receive).
Unfortunately, once so much money has been spent, it is incredibly hard to allow the authorities that regulate your activities to push through a set of regulations that not only devalue all of your previous investment but could also be seen to make your a prior business model a disadvantage for future competition.
"Thanks for competing, but now you've got to run in shackles to give the new boys a chance"???
The cost/benefit analysis can only point in one direction under those circumstances : straight out the door.
Privateer entries exist solely for the racing & will continue to support a championship for as long as they exist. Corporate entries exist for as long as they favour the bottom line & can be written off at the drop of a hat (the most recent example being Honda).
Needless to say, after having watched the ITC debacle, I always believed that increased manufacturer involvement could only lead to fragmentation of the only sport I love & I've been watching these forces build for a decade now ...
To quote my favourite TV show : All of this has happened before & all of this will happen again.
"Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine ..."