The 2012 season has kicked off promisingly, with more overtaking moves recorded in the first two races than in the same exciting period last year.

The finding is significant, given the highly lauded contribution early in 2011 made by the new passing aid 'DRS', and new official supplier Pirelli's heavily-degrading tyres.

Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper said 2012 has so far broken even the all-time records of early last season, when there were 63 overtaking moves - excluding the first laps - in Australia and Malaysia 2011.

This year, there were 70 passes in Australia-Malaysia combined.

It bodes well for this weekend's Chinese grand prix, after last year's Shanghai race saw no fewer than 63 separate in-race overtakes, including Lewis Hamilton's winning move on leader Sebastian Vettel.

"China proved to be one of the most fascinating races in our first year, so we have a tough act to follow," said Pirelli's Paul Hembery.

"However, the philosophy we have adopted this year actually extends the window of peak performance on the slick tyres, which means that the drivers should be able to race harder and closer," he added.

Yet another factor at the 2012 Chinese grand prix could be the weather, with F1's travellers already sampling wet Shanghai roads early this week.

That forecast would suit Malaysia winner Ferrari, with technical director Pat Fry admitting that the Italian team's 2012 car is almost a second off the pace in the dry.

"Damp, low grip conditions suit our car and flatter some of the issues we have at the moment," he said.

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