There's a bit of cod philosophy that says 'rules are for the guidance of the wise and the obedience of fools'. The trouble with that, of course, is that most fools think they're wise. And if you're truly wise you will have a suspicion that you might be a fool.
But there's a case to be made in F1 for the intelligent ignoring of rules when appropriate. The Spa controversy between Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen was a great case in point. That stewards ruling was still reverberating as we arrived at Monza.
Regardless of how that overtaking move accorded with how the sporting regulations are worded, it was - if we are being charitable - an incredibly crazy time to interfere with the result of a grand prix. It has led inevitably to the perception, yet again, that the governing body is manipulating the championship contest in Ferrari's favour.
When we arrived at Monza in 2003, there was controversy about how the Michelin front tyre on Ferrari's title rivals Williams and McLaren had been adjudged to be illegally wide. Even though it had been the same width for almost three seasons, a specific interpretation of the rules was made that - surely coincidentally - suited Ferrari, disadvantaged its championship rivals.
When we arrived at Monza in '04, with Ferrari having already clinched the championship, nothing happened. When we arrived there in '05, with Ferrari completely out of the championship equation, nothing happened. When we arrived there in '06, with Ferrari in the midst of a title battle with Renault, Alonso was penalised in qualifying for an offence that was very dubious in its interpretation of a vaguely worded rule (an interpretation that's since been rescinded).
We also arrived there to find critical sections of the track had been resurfaced, to the surprise of Michelin (which supplied Renault) but not Bridgestone (which supplied Ferrari). When we arrived there last year, with Ferrari in a tight title battle with McLaren, a critical phase of 'Stepneygate' unfolded. This year, the Spa reverberations.
It's all about perception
An open message to the governing body: Can you see how it looks from outside?
Can you see how this perception of your manipulating things in Ferrari's favour might have taken hold? Of course, you're not doing any such thing. To do so would be grossly irresponsible, would risk the credibility of F1 being damaged forever.
But even though you are not manipulating, even though it's simply a case of some unfortunately worded rules and procedures being followed to the letter and all happening to align in the same team's favour over the years, isn't it about time you gave yourself the luxury of ignoring the wording when it's clearly wise to do so? To accept the wording cannot cover all eventualities, that it's there only for guidance?
They are your rules, after all. Besides, even those that mistakenly believe you are manipulating are coming to think Hamilton and McLaren can lose this championship without your help.
There are encouraging signs that intelligent non-application of rules can be applied: at the same Spa race Raikkonen three times gained an advantage by going off the track, rejoining at much higher speed than if he'd taken the corner - and used this to pass cars.
On the first and second laps he used the run-off at La Source - because he'd been forced over by another car - to rejoin the track at speed, which enabled him to put passes on, respectively, Massa and Hamilton into Les Combes.
Towards the end of the race he used the Pouhon run-off to rejoin at enhanced speed prior to passing Hamilton. On all three occasions he surely 'broke' the rules in the same way Hamilton did at the chicane. But the incidents weren't even investigated. So that's encouraging, isn't it?
They were racing incidents that inevitably unfold, especially with a world championship at stake and there was no obvious premeditation. On the other hand, some might interpret the inconsistency as yet more Ferrari bias. Which is unfortunate. And damaging.
It was encouraging at Valencia that the stewards chose not to give Massa a drive-through penalty for what they adjudged his dangerous release in the pit lane. It seemed they'd used common sense, fining the team but taking no action that would have changed the result. That was a good decision. Just like not getting involved in Raikkonen's incidents at Spa were good decisions.
But, damn it, how unfortunate that the incident they did choose to punish - which was no different in principle to any of Raikkonen's three incidents - concerned Ferrari's rival.
Oh dear. People really will get the wrong idea, won't they? How unfortunate that fans have jumped to conclusions like this. But you can see how they might, surely?