There's no doubting how much the Force India team as a whole is enjoying being in the United States for this weekend's penultimate round of the 2013 world championship season.

"It's great to be back in Austin," said team principal and managing director Dr Vijay Mallya. "The circuit still looks spectacular and the welcome from the American fans is always fantastic."

Adrian Sutil particularly excited about making his first appearance out on track at the Circuit of the Americas.

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"It's my first visit to Austin and I have to say I really like the track," he said. "There are some nice corners and some tricky ones where it's easy to make small mistakes. It's not that easy to learn the track either because it's a challenging lap, especially the high-speed sections."

But for all the team's enthusiasm for the venue, there was no hiding the fact they that were struggling to get the performance they needed out of the car, with Sutil ending the day as 12th fastest behind both Saubers who are Force India's main rivals in the constructors championship, and Paul di Resta two spots further back in 14th.

"We worked hard to improve the car set-up today, but the balance is still not where I want it to be," admitted Sutil at the end of Friday's sessions. "Hopefully we can make some positive changes overnight. As for the tyres, there is not a big difference between the hard and the medium, but we managed long runs on each compound so should be well prepared for the weekend."

"It's been a difficult day to understand exactly where we are," added di Resta. "I don't think my position in FP2 is a true reflection of our competitiveness. I came across some traffic on my best lap so Adrian's position is probably more representative.

"The long runs looked more promising and if we get everything together we can hopefully match the performance level we've shown for the last few races. The focus tonight will be on tyres: understanding them more and how to manage them over the weekend."

Dr Mallya was slightly more optimistic that the team would get to the bottom of their struggles and could still have a strong outing in Austin this weekend.

"The engineers have lots of data to analyse tonight to make sure we get the most from the tyres in qualifying and the race," he said. "Both drivers have yet to find the optimum balance and the track conditions meant it was hard to be consistent and difficult to make comparisons."