AVF driver Tom Dillmann says he expects to be fighting compatriot Matthieu Vaxiviere and Russian driver Egor Orudzhev for the title in the 2016 Formula V8 3.5 season.
Dillmann, Vaxiviere and Orudzhev are the three highest-placed returnees from the 2015 edition of the series, the latter pair also the only drivers on the grid to have won Formula Renault 3.5 races before.
Vaxiviere, who now drives for SMP Racing, was runner-up with three wins last year, while Orudzhev took two wins on his way to fifth and Dillmann ended up seventh.
"I think it will be three or four of us contesting the title," Dillmann told Motorsport.com.
"Vaxiviere, Orudzhev - those who won races last year. In the end, the one who finished second in the championship and the one who finished fifth are still here, so the level is here. I think it will be between us."
Dillmann also noted that, while some of F3.5's newcomers should be in contention for victories, they are unlikely to challenge for the entire season.
"There are good rookies who are surely going to fight for race wins, he said.
"But I think over the whole campaign, it will be three of us."
F3.5 title a matter of prestige
A former German F3 champion and a race winner in GP2, Dillmann is very keen to add a F3.5 crown to his resume, even if he doesn't see himself ever reaching the top rung of the junior ladder - Formula 1.
"I won a championship in F3, but I haven't won in one of F1's two feeder series [GP2 and F3.5]," he said.
"Even though I won't race in F1, I'd like to win one of these championship to show that I won in F3, I won in F2, I've gotten the job done."
Interview by Emmanuel Rolland
Translation by Benjamin Vinel