Jan.10 - Mercedes should have been braver and signed MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi for 2017.
"For me, Valentino was the most logical choice," Zanardi, a former Williams driver, told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Mercedes has had to engineer a complex deal to get Bottas out of his 2017 Williams contract, involving Felipe Massa calling off his retirement and perhaps even fast-forwarding Paddy Lowe's move to Williams.
But Zanardi thinks Rossi, the 37-year-old flamboyant motorcycle racing star, would have been a more exciting choice to replace retiring world champion Nico Rosberg.
"I think it would have been perfect," he said. "His arrival in formula one would have boosted the audience a lot.
"Can you imagine the media impact that a single victory by Valentino at the wheel of a Mercedes would have had?" Zanardi, now a 50-year-old Paralympic hand-cycling champion, added.
But with Bottas set to be confirmed instead, Zanardi thinks Mercedes will again be strong in 2017 anyway.
He dismissed Ferrari's chances of a big improvement.
"I honestly do not think there will be a great improvement," said Zanardi. "I expect to see (Lewis) Hamilton win."
Book discounted tickets and reservate your hotel room in our F1 Tickets Shop.
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.