Rob Dylan wrote:It's never really been made clear as to the influence the Mercedes drivers really have over the management. In Red Bull, Vettel's influence was obvious due to Helmut Marko's presence everywhere. But with Wolff's comments that sound like he's treating Nico and Lewis like two young rascals, I'm not sure how much influence one Mercedes driver might hold over such large team decisions. Even after two championships, Hamilton has never really come across as influential or a leader off the track.
On the other hand, Jock Clear did give an interesting private talk recently where, according to one individual who attended it, he indicated that Hamilton was the more influential driver of the two behind the scenes. His opinion was that, out of the two, Hamilton was more effective in rallying the team behind him and utilising the working relationship that he could develop with a team to push them in a particular development direction. By contrast, Rosberg seemed to lack the necessary leadership skills to direct a team, leading Clear to say that he doesn't believe that Rosberg will win a drivers title.
However, in reality I do not think that either driver will have a huge amount of leverage over the team with regards to driver decisions. Out of the two, Hamilton may have a little leverage due to his marketability for Mercedes - however, as we saw with Williams in the 1990's when they were utterly dominant, when the team has a clear performance advantage, the team has much more leverage over the drivers than even a title winning driver may have over the team.
However, in the short term at least, why would Mercedes want to change their driver line up? Rosberg and Hamilton are in their early 30's and therefore likely to be competitive for a good few years yet, and at the moment tensions between Rosberg and Hamilton are still fairly easily contained.
Furthermore, Mercedes already have two young drivers - Wehrlein and Ocon - on their books, with speculation over whether Wehrlein may yet be apprenticed to Manor. In that sense, Ricciardo may, in a peculiar twist of fate, find that his chances at Mercedes may well be cut short by Mercedes adopting the same sort of junior team tactics that enabled Ricciardo to enter the sport in the first place.
As for Ferrari, as has been pointed out by Salamander, Ferrari are certainly not afraid of taking on a strong driver - they've thrown out many drivers who have tried to bend the team to their will. If they want a driver, it is usually a rare event that they don't get the one they want - Bottas perhaps being a rare exception, where Williams appear to have asked Ferrari for a compensation package that they were not prepared to pay.
Now, in Ferrari's case the need to replace Kimi is more pressing given that he is 36 and therefore unlikely to remain with the team for too much longer. However, if Ricciardo were to want to move, we know that Grosjean has already indicated that he is hoping to use Haas as a stepping stone to move to Ferrari, whilst I imagine that figures like Hulkenberg still haven't yet given up on Ferrari either - so, at the very least, Ricciardo would probably face a crowded field.