Wolff’s team teased developments to their W14 as early as next weekend’s F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix as they bid to hunt down the Red Bulls.

The team principal has now been handed a glowing review by Russell as the F1 ‘spring break’ gets set to conclude.

Are Williams the biggest improvers in F1 this season? | F1 2023

“He’s been an integral part of my career,” Russell said to Square Mile.

“Highly intelligent, a charismatic bloke, he’s been a huge part of the success of the team and is going to be a huge part of the return of Mercedes after what’s been a difficult season.

“A huge motivator, an unbelievable leader, he gives everybody his time. 

“It doesn’t matter if they are a chief aerodynamicist or working on the shop floor, he respects everybody. 

“I think that’s why he still has such a team around him and so much trust. I feel fortunate to work with such a great guy.”

It had previously been thought that Mercedes might have to wait until the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at the end of May to bring upgrades but Wolff has offered a new clue.

"We will consistently be bringing upgrades to the car over the next few races, which is something to look forward to,” Wolff said in a Q&A published on Mercedes’ website. 

“But there is no such thing as a magic bullet that transforms the car, and it's about being realistic with your expectations. Hopefully we will see a steady improvement.”

However, Russell returns to F1 knowing a grid penalty looms later this year.

His engine, which was on fire and caused his retirement from the F1 Australian Grand Prix, is not salvageable according to German publication Auto Motor und Sport

It means he will use a second V6 engine in Baku next weekend, with only three permitted in the whole of 2023.