Williams has confirmed that its relationship with AT&T has come to an end, leaving the Grove outfit without a title sponsor just weeks before the launch of its 2012 contender.
Rumours of a possible problem began over the weekend when it was noticed that the logo on the team's website had changed, with AT&T, one of the world's biggest telecommunications companies, no longer included in the logo and also missing from the list of team partners.
This morning, following days of speculation, a spokesperson for the former champions confirmed the end of the relationship.
"We have reached the conclusion of our partnership, the contract expired on Dec 31 by mutual agreement," she said.
The move follows the team's worst season in its long history, the nine-time constructors' title winners having scored just five points.
The split with AT&T, which became title sponsor in 2007, comes days after the retirement (from the team's F1 operations) of co-founder Patrick Head and at a time when the Grove outfit is still seeking a second driver.
With Pastor Maldonado bringing money from the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, his teammate will need to be bringing a similarly budget, even more so in light of today's news. This would appear to favour Russia's Vitaly Petrov rather than Adrian Sutil, Bruno Senna or Rubens Barrichello.
While the team claims to be in talks with another leading telecomms company, its increasing links with Qatar - where it has a technology centre - might also bear fruit.
In recent years the team has lost a number of high profile sponsors including RBS, while the banking crisis in Iceland saw a raft of names disappear from the Grove outfit's cars.