Because all the cars are a lot closer than they used to be. Teabagyokel summed it up brilliantly with a copy of the 1985 Italian Grand Prix Qualifying list. Top and Bottom were separated by 10 seconds, even Yamamoto werent that slow compared to the Red Bulls. The top 10 were covered by 2 seconds. Of course there was going to be more overtaking as there was a big performance difference. Most Q3 sessions now the top 10 are covered by half that so of course there is going to be less overtaking.
But also, to make your worthwhile comparison, you'll have to remove any car from contention in any race from the past at about 104%+ of pole time.
Here is how many cars would have to be excluded at some selected Grand Prix:
1950 Britain : 6 in, 15 out. (everyone bar 4 Alfas, Prince Bira and Yves Giraud-Cabantous)
1967 Monza: 11 in , exclude 7
1971 Monza: 19 in, exclude 5
1978 Belgium: 15 in, 11 qualifiers out
1982 Britain: 17 in, exclude 9
1988 Imola : 4 in, exclude 22 qualifiers (since you won't count passes between Lotus, Virgin & HRT)
1992 France: 9 in, exclude 17 qualifiers
1994 Aida: 15 in, exclude 11 qualifiers
So, although 1971 in Monza is a good example of a similar field to today with regard to fast & slow cars, there are certain examples over history of cases where, by a consistent application of your rationale, we would have to discard any overtaking accomplished between, by or against half the field.
In fact, by your rationale, a full 22 out of 26 qualifiers for the 1988 San Marino GP were 'crapboxes'.
So stop misrepresenting statistics. You have a valid point about the effect of the Lotus, Virgin and HRT cars on the overtaking statistics, but you then cannot compare these to the Brian W. Lawrence/Michele Merlino figures from the mid-80s as they would also have the 'crapboxes' in them, and for that reason your declaration of an all-time low is not backed up by statistics, nor does it stand up to the least rigourous analysis possible.
Its a selected set of examples to illustrate a point*. It does not need to be a complete list, either, since my point is that there exist Grand Prix where your rationale would require a change the current data, not that that would apply to all Grand Prix. You are claiming you must bin 315 passes whilst keeping every pass from the data before 2010. You cannot do this, as you are being inconsistent which clearly invalidates any claim you make.
Virgin/HRT/Lotus are about 104% off the leaders, and the qualifications tab at each race on this site tells how much each car was behind pole position, and they have a complete list of each World Championship race.
If you wish to go through this and bring a complete set of results to the table, which carefully uses statistics accurately and validly, then I would be extremely happy to review your findings.
If, however, you wish to continue to post unsubstantiated detritus then I will have no option but to point out the logical flaws in your argument, as I have done elsewhere on this site to other members, in the name of getting any statistics and conclusions thereof to be accurate, serious and sound.
HRT, Virgin and Lotus have affected the overtaking statistics, but overtakes cannot be discarded because they were on a slower car, since the overtaking figure if you took that argument to its logical extreme would be 0.
*I have better things to be doing with my time than evaluating 839 Qualifying Sessions, which would be pointless anyway!
Surely seeing as Lotus, HRT & Virgin are always, barring penalty/mishap, at the back of the grid anyway then do they not add a great deal to the overtaking stats. I'm assuming that any overtaking going on 'back there' would be be between cars of similar ability, thereby making any of those passes just as valid in the eyes of some.
I'm also assuming (far too lazy to check) that blue flag incidents aren't counted...
Neither the cars nor the Monza circuit of the 1950's are even remotely equivalent to the cars and Monza circuit of 2010. Todays touring cars might have a similar performance, you might like to seek your motorsport fix there.
I'm sick of excuses and "they are closer" speeches; Hamilton was 2 seconds per lap faster BTW and still couldn't pass.
Anyway, who said that lots of overtaking leads automatically to an exciting race, and that little ovetaking would necessarily lead to a dull one? Yes, of course it should be possible for a faster car or a better driver to overtake a slower one; but it shouldn't be too easy.
In NASCAR for instance they go round and round in circles, overtaking each other for fun. It's all meaningless and very very dull.
Meanwhile, what about Mansell chasing Senna at Monaco, or Alonso holding off Schumacher at Imola? Two classic races that stick in the memory, where you could say that the relative difficulty in overtaking actually contributed to the spectacle.
Overtaking for overtaking's sake, in my view, is not the Holy Grail in F1, they just need to get the balance right.
There was passing at the front, granted, but your logic insists that any drivers outside 104% should have their positions lost deducted and then their positions gained deducted.
So I predict with that logic we have a negative number of overtakes.
You've deducted any overtake between Lotus, HRT and Virgin twice! And you've also deducted the few overtakes by Lotus, HRT and Virgin over other members of the field, which certainly weren't symptoms of fast car/slow car syndrome.
and it wasn't because of 4-6 seconds gaps or the 104% nonsense
I'm not saying it was, I'm just applying your logic. At Valencia, Lotus were only 103.1% of pole funnily enough, which is actually closer than any car bar Prost to Senna's pole time at the 1988 San Marino Grand Prix.
You can't (whilst keeping your argument valid) deride cars for being in a separate 'B' class when application of consistent logic would lead you to be forced to dismiss many of the overtakes that your statistics point to.
That is a really daft thing to bring up when you note that the drivers did not even drive the cars flat out in the 50s. If you have seen any early GP, driver or team interview footage you would know this. The leader was effectively the pace setter like in a middle distance+ running race or cycle race. The cars were not even capable of stopping in a reliable distance, engines were over stressed and had to be managed carefully to last an entire race, indeed at tracks with long straight sections, as most had, drivers would have to back off the throttle in a straight line to prevent the engine just letting go, so if you are following of course you will squeeze the peddle a little to get past and begin managing your own pace. Drivers pushed each other faster than they dared each lap previous and although daring and entertaining, drivers were not even in a position to extract the variable 100% performance from the car, risked engine failure, brake failure or death by attempting to get within 10% of it and this practice generally led to up to 2/3 of the cars retiring and up to 1/3 of the field being killed trying each year.
If, however, you wish to continue to post unsubstantiated detritus then I will have no option but to point out the logical flaws in your argument, as I have done elsewhere on this site to other members, in the name of getting any statistics and conclusions thereof to be accurate, serious and sound