European Formula 3 driver Jake Dennis is 90 percent certain about not continuing in the series for a third season, admitting that a return is a "last resort".
Competing in the MRF Challenge's first round in Abu Dhabi last weekend, the 20-year-old revealed his intention to not return to F3 for a third successive campaign.
"There is a 90 per cent chance that I won't continue in F3 next season," Dennis told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview.
When asked about the reasons, the Brit explained that there was "no real advantage" in continuing and going for the title. "It doesn't add anything, as winning the title won't land me a guaranteed seat anywhere, I'll still be the part of Racing Steps Foundation."
"Formula 1 remains the aim but becoming a professional racer is the priority," he added, stating that no decision has been made regarding his future and that nothing will be confirmed until December.
A natural step would be to drive in GP3 or the re-branded Formula 3.5 V8 series, while a GP2 shot seems unlikely given fellow RSF driver Oliver Rowland's desire to compete in the F1 feeder series.
Regarding possible switch away from single-seaters, Dennis admitted that although he likes DTM and is close to Mercedes, any move in the near future is not in prospect.
"With F1 becoming difficult for drivers to break into, more and more move towards DTM and GT racing, so there is some stiff competition to find a decent seat," he said.
Fruitful F3 season
Dennis made his F3 debut with Carlin in 2014, finishing ninth in his rookie year before switched to Prema for 2015. He described the move as the "correct" decision, finishing third in the points and notching up six wins.
"We did quite well in the season, as third was the best possible result behind Felix Rosenqvist and Antonio Giovinazzi," said Dennis.
The one disappointment the British racer rued was chalking up five retirements to Giovinazzi's two and Rosenqvist's one, a fact that proved detrimental to his title bid.
Dennis lauded the highly competitive F3 field, but was quick to remind that the top four (himself, Rosenqvist, Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc) pulled away handsomely from the rest of the grid by the end of the season.
Stroll ban got drivers thinking
While everyone hailed the good performances and grid strength of the F3 series, the drivers did get major criticism for poor driving standards, especially at the Monza and Spa rounds.
Dennis' Prema teammate Lance Stroll was banned for a race at Spa after causing a major pile-up, following from a similarly terrifying flip into the catch-fencing at Monza.
"It was quite aggressive from some of the drivers out there," said Dennis. "I wasn't involved much but when I started from the back, a lot of drivers tried to make moves which weren't possible."
"Of course, those rounds [Monza & Spa] made it huge in the media but it got us drivers thinking and helped us to improve as the season went on," he added.
MRF round good preparation for Macau
With a month's break between the last F3 race at Hockenheim and the prestigious Macau Grand Prix, Dennis took the opportunity to prepare for the event by accepting an invitation to drive in the opening round of the Indian-based MRF Challenge series in Abu Dhabi.
In the four races, Dennis notched up two podium finishes against stiff opposition, which included GP2 driver Nobuharu Matsushita and fellow F3 drivers Pietro Fittipaldi and Tatiana Calderon, among others.
"This is a good way to prepare for Macau, I like the [Yas Marina] track, it is my first time racing here and first time under lights against some really good drivers," he said.
When asked about his aims for his maiden Macau race, Dennis remained cautious, targeting a podium finish while tipping the more experienced Rosenqvist to win.