Composites forming processes involve mechanical interactions on the ply, tow, and filament level. The deformations that occur during forming processes are governed by friction between tows and tooling material on the mesoscopic level and consequently between filaments and a counterface on the microscopic level. A thorough understanding of the frictional properties on the level of individual filaments is important to understand and predict the macroscopic deformations of a fabric during forming. The contact mechanics based friction model in this work confirms an experimentally observed decrease of frictional forces with an increasing roughness of the counterface. The developed model provides a qualitative understanding of the frictional behaviour of filaments on a cylindrical metal counterface.