Haas team boss Guenther Steiner said he does not regret the team having previously had strong links with Russia.
And he said that the “right decisions” were taken following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier in March, the Formula 1 team parted ways with Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and Russian title sponsor Uralkali, a chemicals company.
Steiner said there was no option but to drop Mazepin.
The driver’s billionaire father, Dmitry Mazepin, has close ties to Vladimir Putin and Steiner said the decision was taken to avoid putting the team at risk.
“We couldn’t make any other decision when we got to it, there was no possibility to keep him driving. The criticism, the sanction, altogether, it didn’t work out any more,” he told BBC Sport.
Four days after Haas’ decision to drop 23-year-old Mazepin, both he and his father were added to the European Union’s list of Russians sanctioned over the invasion of Ukraine.
Dmitry Mazepin was described as “a member of the closest circle of [President] Vladimir Putin”, and his chemicals business, which part-owned Uralkali, was said to be providing “substantial revenue” to the Russian government.
Speaking from Bahrain, before the first Grand Prix of the season, Steiner said the decision about Mazepin was taken by the whole team.
“We made it as a team and always with the background of what is best for the team,” he said.
“Because the biggest asset here is the team, with all the people we employ here, all the people who work here, we cannot put that at risk.”
Since the decision, Nikita Mazepin has announced he is setting up a foundation to support other “politically excluded” athletes.
Steiner said he had not been in touch with the young driver, adding: “It was not his doing but sometimes you end up in this situation and you need to deal with it.”
Asked if he had any regrets about the close ties that Haas forged with Russia, Steiner said: “No I don’t regret them, it was a decision that at the time we took.
“Then the world’s situation changed and we took action. I think when we made our decision we made the right decision, both of the times, when we were with them – when we were with Uralkali and Nikita [Mazepin]- and afterwards. You can make decisions of circumstances, and that is what we did.”
Steiner said the team’s future was not jeopardised by losing its title sponsor.
“We are good financially, we have been always good, we have never had any debt or anything, we pay everything. And Mr [Gene] Haas [the team owner] would not let that happen.
“Obviously there is some challenges because we want to replace the income which we are now going to lose with Uralkali but that doesn’t put us at risk as a team.”
Last season, Haas finished bottom of the constructors’ championship with Mick Schumacher 19th and Mazepin 21st.
But Steiner said he did not regret choosing the two rookies for last season, and was not surprised that Haas won no points during the season.
His outlook for this season is more positive, helped by the experience of the returning Dane Kevin Magnussen, who has filled Mazepin’s spot.
“As a team we know what we are able to do, we finished fifth in the championship in our third season [in 2018]. A lot of it is the same people, these people haven’t gone stupid over the years. They can still do it.
“We had Covid in 2020 which put us in the position we were in in 2020 and 2021. Now we just make a comeback, that is what we will be trying to do this year.”