Nico Rosberg believes Fernando Alonso would have been an entertaining choice as a replacement
McLaren team-mates Alonso and Lewis Hamilton clashed in the 2007 season, the Brit's very first in F1, as the 22-year-old finished second in the title race.
He missed out on a fourth world title last year too when he was beaten to top honours by Mercedes team-mate Rosberg by just five points.
But the German promptly retired to leave the team scrambling for a replacement less than four months before the start of the new season.
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Pascal Wehrlein emerged as an early favourite but Alonso, a two-time world champion set to race 2017 in a distinctly mediocre McLaren, was also mentioned by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
"Everyone says Alonso [would have been the best choice] and I say it too because there would be fireworks with Hamilton," Rosberg told Spanish newspaper Marca.
"As a fan, it would be nice, but for the team it wouldn't work."
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were never comfortable team-mates in their one season at McLaren
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were childhood friends but Mercedes battles put a strain on them
Instead, Mercedes signed a one-year deal with Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas after convincing him to leave Williams.
"They've found a great solution," added Rosberg.
"Bottas is fast and though Hamilton will be at a very, very high level and it will be difficult to beat him, I have proved that he can."
Rosberg and Hamilton came together a number of times on and off the track as the pressure of three consecutive title races put strains on their childhood friendship.
And despite his retirement, the 31-year-old will continue to work with Mercedes as an ambassador, insisting there is no ill will from any corner of the team towards his unexpected exit from the cockpit.
"They have a lot of respect for me and I appreciate it," Rosberg said.
"With [non-executive director Niki] Lauda it has been more complicated and though he seems angry in the press, with me he isn't.
"He told me in person that he took off his hat to me.
"He's been very supportive after three very good years working together."